At the Top Floor Flat, we’re pretty good about cooking everything for ourselves. However there has always been a nearly irresistable temptation to visit a nearby restaurant called The Priory. The Priory has the most alluring outside tables, the most sparkling icicle fairy lights, the most tempting aromas – but only when we’re not there. In fact, the three times we’ve made a decided efforrt to go to the Priory for a meal, it was closed. It seems to be closed every Sunday, every Monday and, as we discovered last weekend, on Saturday lunches.

Having already left the flat, we decided to wander around in search of another local eatery where we could get some lunch and discuss the business model of The Priory (it would seem that more open hours would contribute to more, or at least, our, business). We were quite ready to forgive the Priory, however, when we stumbled upon Betty Blythe, a specialty food store turned cafe with the most pleasing decor imaginable (it looked a bit like a Laura Ashley store collided with a sweet sixteen birthday party).

Ann and I indulged in sandwiches, lattes and decadent carrot cake served on delicate china plates before we had to usher each other out – avoiding any misguided purchases such as dozens of cupcakes, bottles of fancy sodas or loaves of homemade bread.

Betty Blythe isn’t a full restaurant, the menu is limited and the sandwiches premade (although that works in your favour if you’re hungry).  But it’s ambiance, quality homemade food and friendly staff made it the perfect place for a mid-day bite. Take that Priory.

Betty Blythe Tea Shop

73 Blythe Road
West Kensington, London, W14 0HP
020 7602 1177

Sandwiches, coffee and cake for two >£20


Are You a Techette?

I wanted to share a little project I’ve been working on for some time now. I’m excited to announce my brand new website Techettes – the tech savvy girl’s guide to what’s sweet on the web. Part Daily Candy, part TechCrunch, Techettes is meant to provide short and sweet reviews of great web sites and web tools, interviews and editorial about web technologies as well as the social networking tools for readers to save and share their favourite stories.

The idea for Techettes arose when I discovered that I really enjoyed reviewing my favourite up and coming websites and web 2.0 companies, as well as various other tech-related subjects here on The Top Floor Flat, but the posts didn’t really fit with the rest of my London and travel musings. I wanted a place where I could gossip about the tech news that interested me, and hope that some other women out there will be up for reading my ramblings.

This means that now, since I’m maintaining two editorial based websites (Top Floor Flat and Techettes) in addition to working full time at Spoonfed, the posts here may become slightly less frequent and (as you may have already noticed) a bit photo-heavy, at least while I’m sorting out a routine. That said, I have some very exciting ideas for The Top Floor Flat as well, especially as I no longer plan to work tech posts in with the rest of my writing here. I’ll be looking at a bit of a redesign of the main page and will start putting together sections for city and London travel guides based on the places I’ve already visited and the posts that are already here on the site. While I probably won’t be changing anything for a little while, I like the idea of making The Top Floor Flat solely about London life and travel while Techettes takes over on the tech side.

I’d really appreciate any feedback on the Techettes site – it’s still in its early stages and has some bugs to work out (please let me know if you find any weirdness!) but I’m quite excited to share my second internet home with all of my Top Floor Flat readers.


It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to indulge in some of London’s fine dining but Wednesday night saw me out on the town for dinner with a friend, the two of us eating al fresco style at Yard Restaurant and Bar in the heart of trendy London Shoreditch.

Yard is known for its famously yard-long pizzas which come in a variety of unique flavours.  The house special seems to be the crispy duck pizza with Hoi Sin sauce, cucumber, spring onion and mozzarella.  Although their specialty was tempting, I was won over by the Hot Americana and it’s promise of sliced chilies while my mealmate opted for the goats cheese.

Fortunately for our figures, the restaurant offers individual, double and four-person portion pizzas, only the largest pizza measuring the full yard in length. The personal pizzas still proved a challenge to finish despite their reasonable price tag.

Our meal at Yard was simple, fresh, tasty and cheap, the perfect pick-me-up halfway through the week.  The fact that the weather cooperated enough to allow outdoor seating on their patio (which admittedly wasn’t the most picturesque of settings, only metres away from the busy Old Street roundabout but perfectly comfortable if you’re not looking for the perfect ambiance) simply improved the evening.

Yard Restaurant and Bar

140 Tabernacle Street
Shoreditch
London, EC2A 4SD

Meal for two with drinks <£30


The Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway at Kew Gardens

The Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway at Kew Gardens

Me... and the beautiful Pagoda in the south corner of the Gardens.

Me... and the beautiful Pagoda in the south corner of the Gardens.

The Japanese Gateway and zen gardens, one of my favourite parts of the park.

The Japanese Gateway and zen gardens, one of my favourite parts of the park.

Queen Charlottes Cottage, used for family picnics in the park.

Queen Charlotte's Cottage, used for family picnics in the park.

The picnic room in Queen Charlottes cottage in Kew Gardens.

The picnic room in Queen Charlotte's cottage in Kew Gardens.

The Kew Palace on the Kew Gardens Grounds

The Kew Palace on the Kew Gardens Grounds

The Desert Plantlife in the Princess of Wales Conservatory

The Desert Plantlife in the Princess of Wales Conservatory

View of the Palm House from Victoria Gate.

View of the Palm House from Victoria Gate.


The Waterlily House at Kew Gardens.

The Waterlily House at Kew Gardens.

A view from the massive enclosed greenhouse, the Palm House.

A view from the massive enclosed greenhouse, the Palm House.

View from the upper walkway in the Palm House

View from the upper walkway in the Palm House

A view across the gardens towards the Temperate House.

A view across the gardens towards the Temperate House.

Another happy visitor at the Gardens.

Another happy visitor at the Gardens.

The Evolution House at Kew Gardens showed plant life from millions of years ago.

The Evolution House at Kew Gardens showed plant life from millions of years ago.