Browsing Tag

Rebecca Brett

Afternoon tea, Guest posts, South Africa

Afternoon Tea At The Twelve Apostles – Cape Town, South Africa

Rebecca Brett swaps afternoon tea in London for the sunny backdrop of the Twelve Apostles mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Town…

Afternoon tea in London is a quintessential treat that takes one away from the stresses and strains of every day life for a little luxury. No soggy sandwich or homemade soup can compare; the likes of The Ritz, Claridges, The Berkeley and the Sanderson make lunch special with fine teas, dainty finger sandwiches and sweet pastries.

I’ve been to my fair share of teas in London, escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, and usually the grey and miserable weather, for an afternoon of genteel refinement and a jolly good feeding. When I was invited to afternoon tea during my trip to Cape Town I wondered if the Capetonians could capture the magic of what so many places in London do so well.

Afternoon tea was to be taken at The Twelve Apostles, a five star hotel and spa nestled between the unspoiled natural beauty of The Twelve Apostles mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean. We’d driven past the hotel on our drive to the beach in the morning of our reservation and were very excited at the prospect of sitting up at the majestic hotel later that day.

We arrived at The Leopard Bar, a huge room with plush seating, a bar and a balcony with spectacular views of the sea. At first we were seated inside but how could we resist more sunshine and the cool breeze from the ocean so, without a fuss, we were moved to the balcony.

Once outside, we were served a bottle of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut 2010 (R260 – approximately £18) to start our high tea. Of all the places in the world, it felt like there was nothing better than drinking Champagne with the sun beating down on us in Cape Town , certainly a huge difference to previous experiences at home.

A trio of nibbles was served next – assorted olives, spiced nuts and corn kernals, were perfect to prevent the bubbles from going straight to our head on our empty stomachs.

Those worries were short-lived; soon after the snacks were quickly demolished, a huge stack of sandwiches and sweet treats were delivered to our table. The savoury plate was a classic sandwich selection of smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise, cheese and tomato, beef and horseradish and a special creamy chicken sandwich with flaked almonds.

The sandwiches were all very nice, nothing out of the ordinary aside from the chicken and almond. The marriage of flavours and textures were incredible and an idea I’ll definitely be using back in Blighty.

The desserts were very special, there were strawberry cheesecakes, shortbread biscuits, macaroons, eclairs, cupcakes, chocolate brownies, carrot cake, fruit tarts and scones with cream and jam. Phew. We had quite a feat ahead of us to get through them.

With the sweets we were also served tea, a redbush (or rooibos if you speak Afrikaans) which is native to South Africa and can be served with or without milk. Rick went for a slice of lemon while I went with milk and sugar.

As the afternoon went on, our waistlines expanded with the decadent selection of desserts and as the sun shined down on us the sweets strained under the immense heat. Before completely melting we managed to make our way through most of the sweets.

The fresh fruit tart was sweet from the ripe fruit, the macaroons crisp on the outside and impeccably chewy in the middle, the shortbread better than any I’ve eaten from Scotland and brownie bites full of huge chunks of nuts and chocolate. The only let down were the scones which were a little dry and crumbly.

But how can you complain when the views are beautiful, the service impeccable and bubbles flowing. Even though it was gone 5pm by the time we’d finished eating, the sun was still very strong so we decided to retire to the lounge and take our tea inside to cool down. Inside the room was very busy with young stylish guests having cocktails, families relaxing with tea and snacks and the waiting staff seamlessly working their way around the room.

I’m a Londoner and I love London but nothing can compare to the exceptional afternoon experience that we had at The Twelve Apostles in late December. The food was delicious but perhaps the extra ingredient of sunshine made it extra special for us. There was nothing quite like taking in the breathtaking scenery around us while devouring sandwiches and sweets.

The other huge difference is the price – while at home you would expect to pay £40 upwards each for the privilege, in Cape Town this whole afternoon costs less than £40 for two and that’s including the Champagne too!

Tea by the Sea is served daily from 2-6pm and costs R220 (approximately £16) per stand.

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Victoria Road, Camps Bay 8005, Cape Town, +27 (0) 21 437 9000

For more information and booking, visit:

Rebecca Brett was a guest of The Twelve Apostles and writes the blog, Bon Appetit.

Photos by Rebecca Brett (The Leopard Bar by The Twelve Apostles).

Cafes, Guest posts, London, Restaurants

42Raw At Royal Academy, Mayfair

Rebecca Brett shakes up lunchtime with the fresh, raw food concept straight from Copenhagen…

Lunchtime in London leaves one spoilt with choice, from huge generously-filled burritos, freshly made baguettes, hot and warming soup, salty beef sandwiches, naughty takeaway burgers and fish finger wraps. But with summer, comes the urgency to look better and feel better, to don a skirt without worrying about the wobbly bits and to opt for a lighter lunch that is both healthy and nutritious.

This is where 42°Raw comes in.  Fresh from Copenhagen comes the acclaimed restaurant that specialises in raw food. Not one single thing that leaves the kitchen has been cooked, everything is served in its most natural state. That means no added sugar, no dairy products, no colouring and no nasty preservatives.  Just really healthy and natural food. Boring right?

I’m the first person to shun salads for pizza, dollop a huge blob of mayonnaise on my triple-cooked chips and add an extra sugar to my tea. So an invite to 42°Raw was intriguing yet I expected to hate every minute. For moral support and guidance I took along my spirulina-loving, fat shunning, health freak friend Lisa, who I knew would love every minute of the weird and alien (to me) wholesome world.

The 100% plant-based healthy fast food cafe is in the well to do area of  Mayfair, on Burlington Gardens, with the likes of Cecconis and The Embassy Club as neighbours.

Set in the beautiful Royal Academy of Arts, the idea is to choose which dish, or dishes in our case, you would like from the extensive menu, hand over your money and then you get a numbered carrot, no wooden spoons here! You then find a table and wait while your lunch or dinner is freshly prepared and bought to the table.

After some recommendations we chose the Lasagna (£7), Mango and Pumpkin Seed Salad (£6) and Tapas (£10) which is trio of mini samplers including the lasagna, Thai noodles and apple and walnut salad.

While we waited for our lunch, we supped on a smoothie each, the Milano with basil, ginger, apple and cucumber for Lisa and the Stockholm with mango, mint, chilli, apple and carrot for me. Packed full of goodness but not heavy or sweetened, I loved the extra chilli kick in mine – good for the metabolism too!

Then these works of art arrived, the presentation of our lunch was stunning. Thinly sliced layers of courgette, tomato and baby spinach with walnuts, parsley and cashew made up the huge portion of lasagna. It was divine. As we were eating, we kept discussing our disbelief that everything was raw, it just tasted so good but the creaminess in the lasagna didn’t come from artery clogging dairy fats but the natural fats from the cashew cream. Genius.

The tapas selection was very large and definitely best to share, we were happy to devour more of the lasagna, the Thai noodles were ribbons of carrot and courgette dressed in curry, red chilli and ginger with coconut oil and a small apple and walnut salad with courgette, avocado, apple, walnuts and a creamy mint and cardamom dressing.

Another huge serving came, this time the mango and pumpkin seed salad, again with courgette (it’s popular here!) avocado, mango pumpkin seeds and a mango and chilli dressing.

The most surprising thing about this huge array of healthy foods was that although it felt light, it was all really filling as well as being good for you, even though sometimes you couldn’t tell!

42°Raw was a complete surprise to me and my senses. Common preconceptions around raw food is that it’s rabbit food for the uber skinny supermodels of the world but the great food we ate completely blew that idea out of the water. The dishes we ate were delicious, especially that beautiful plate of lasagna, as well as being really good for you! A trip to 42°Raw definitely sees to the five-a-day in just one sitting.

I was also thrilled to find out that they serve breakfast too, the organic chia-cocoa pudding and chai latte with almond milk and cinnamon is already on my radar.

Rebecca Brett was a guest of 42°Raw

Rebecca Brett writes the blog, Bon Appetit

42°Raw Café on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Beauty, Guest posts, London, Spa

Reviewed: Aqua Sheko Fish Spa

Holidays and hot days in the city means stepping up the grooming routine, so Chérie City has been hunting down the best beauty treatments in London to get you in top shape and beach ready.

Never one to shy away from a beauty challenge, the lovely Journalist/Blogger/Model, Rebecca Brett put her feet at the mercy of skin-eating Garra Rufa fish at the incredibly chic Aqua Sheko, London’s first fish spa…

I’ve always been a water baby, there’s nothing more I like than being in the sea when I’m on holiday, even better if there’s a shoal of fish swimming by that I can watch and attempt to follow. Snorkelling in Barbados this year was the highlight of the holiday, making the fish come and swim next to me with offerings of bread was just magical.

I don’t quite how I would have felt if the fish started nibbling at me though, probably a little terrified if I’m honest. So why I signed up to have my feet nibbled at in the name of beauty I don’t know. Actually I do, my good friend Chérie is a fish-phobe or Ichthyophobic if you will, so being said water baby I thought I’d give it a go.

Aqua Sheko is a brand new beauty haunt just off High Street Kensington, gone are the hour long massages, gone are the mani-pedis, gone are the beauticians waiting for the next person to come in the door. Taking the pride of place are Garra Rufa fish, the pedicurists of the sea world.

The fish, which are believed to be natural healers, are ready and waiting for me as I step into the trendy looking spa. There are three other women already having the fish therapy done when I walk in, I was feeling a little apprehensive watching hundreds of mini fishes nibbling away at the ladies tired tootsies but after a quick wash of my feet, I was ready to take the plunge.

Boy those fish were hungry! As soon as I put my feet in to the water the excitable little things were all over them like a rash. Nibbling away like nobody’s business to rid my ankles, heels, soles, toes (and at some points my legs) of dry skin. My earlier apprehension was somewhat silly, there was nothing to be afraid of, the fish don’t even have teeth. They suck at the skin to remove the bad parts which is not only relaxing but also feels like a mini massage too.

With a cup of flowering tea that unfurls before your eyes in one hand, it wasn’t long before I wondered what to do with my other hand. The tank next to me was free, I couldn’t help myself, I put my hand in… It seems that the fish don’t mind what part of the body it is, they are always hungry! I’d love to go to the place in Turkey where the Garra Rufa fish originate from to have a full body cleansing.

I didn’t really want to leave the tank of swimmers but the offer of a massage was too tempting to miss out on, after 30 minutes in the tank I had my feet washed again before unwinding with a 15 minute massage to complete the treatment. The massage was really nice but it seems that the people behind Aqua Sheko haven’t quite figured out the logistics of where the massages take place as I had mine on the bench that I waited on until it was my turn.

I asked the therapist (of the human kind) what the next step was at the spa and it seems like it’s more than just a few steps to being complete. There’s talk of mini tanks for the hands so you can have both done at the same time, although I was quite happy to lean over in to the next tank to soak my hands it wasn’t comfortable and I don’t think it went down too well with the other people in there. There’s also going to be lids that cover the tanks so that after the treatment you can retreat to the comfy chairs for the massage.

With the lavender oil massage complete, my feet felt uber soft and as a whole I felt calm and peaceful. After a busy morning rushing around the Big Smoke it was just what I needed to take my mind off things. Aqua Sheko was a world away from the hustle and bustle of High Street Kensington, I think after a busy day shopping on the popular road, it would be the perfect place to retreat to take the weight of your feet.

All those fish need to do now is learn how to polish the nails and then the treatment would be perfect.

For booking and more information on the fish pedicure, visit

Becs is a seasoned foodie, working in restaurant PR and writing for Fluid London and London Daily.  Follow her culinary adventures on her mouth-watering blog, Bon Appetit.