Posted in Foodie, Manila, Travel

Manila Part 4: Sugar Sugar…

Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a cultur­e. -Ma­rk Kurlansky

It’s always a bitter sweet feeling leaving a venue. Leaving behind the experiences you had, the places you’ve visited, the people you’ve met. Packing up your suitcase furiously, trying to squeeze everything in. 

I‘m currently sat in Manila Airport waiting to board my flight, dreading the 15 hours but looking forward to seeing my families beautiful little faces when I get back to a cold (and hopefully sunny) England. 

Since all I can think about is Roast dinner with all the trimmings *, I felt I couldn’t leave Manila without sharing some of my favourite eateries with you…
*Tracy Shaw style.

Le Creperie 🥞


Sweet V Savoury…

I don’t think savoury pancakes/crepes were a thing back in the UK especially as i was growing up. It was generally pancakes with lemon and sugar  (which incidentally is still my favourite to this day.) I remember the first time I tried a savoury crepe, it was in the south of France and it was a complete revelation. But being the creature of habit that I am, nearly every pancake day I still stick to my old faithful… the lemon and sugar.

…Except for this one…

What do you do when both sweet and savoury crepes on the menu look so delicious it’s impossible to choose which one to go for?

Answer: Have both of course!

… And that’s exactly what we did. Well, it was pancake day and if you can’t push the boat out on pancake day, when can you? And quite frankly, I didn’t give a crepe… I was going for it.

Banana salted caramel oatmeal crisp (top left) Coco Crepe-aroon (top right) Super complete (bottom left) 😋
For my savoury pancake I chose the Super Complete, which was ham, egg, gruyere cheese, mixed mushrooms and tomato for 415.00 pesos (£6.50) My verdict? Super tasty and completely delicious…basically breakfast in a crepe… need I say more!

After my obsession in Singapore with Kueh dadar which, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this dessert, it is essentially a green pandan pancake with palm sugar and coconut flakes inside (and tasty as anything!) I decided to go against my norm and choose the Coco Crepe-aroon, 185pesos (£3.)

The filling was coconut flakes, dulche de leche sauce and lemon juice (… my poor teeth!) This was a little like Kueh dadar but sweeter, and if I may say, not quite as yummy.

Sarah, in our cast, simply couldn’t decide what toppings to have on her crepe… so she had them all…. she’s my kind of girl!

Banana, strawberry, peanut butter, Oreo cookie, Nutella and whipped cream 😋
  • Le Creperie
  • V Corporate Center, 125 L.P. Leviste St. (Facing Soliman St. side), Salcedo Village, Makati City
  • Mon-Sat 11am – 10:30pm
  • Vegetarian friendly

Wholesome Table 🥕🥒🥑

The Cheese Room
I’ve noticed a couple of things during my stay here in Manila. Firstly that the Mangos here are the best I’ve ever tasted and secondly that the people here absolutely LOVE sugar.

If you are searching for some good clean food in Manila then I would recommend paying a visit to Wholesome table. The menu is great and caters for vegetarian, gluten free and vegan diets too.

I had the Buddha bowl, which was a little bowl of delicious goodness which involved organic brown rice with mixed vegetables, thai red coconut curry sauce, pea sprouts and homemade peanut brittle.
It definitely hit the spot.

  • Wholesome Table
  • Salcedo Branch GF Infinity Tower, H.V. Dela Costa corner Leviste St, Salcedo Village, Makati
  • Mon-Sun: 7am-11pm

Spiral International Buffet, Sofitel


I think I’ve already made my feelings on buffets quite clear. There is a line in Friends Season 5 where Joey tells Chandler at the casino breakfast buffet, “This is where I make all my money back.” For me this buffet was ALL about the cheese… this is where I made all my cheese back.

I tried a variety of cheeses, my two favourites being the truffle Brie and beer infused cheddar… I know!

They don’t call it an International buffet for nothing. There is literally every cuisine here to try. Seafood, steak, carveries, Indian cuisine, Chinese cuisine,  Sushi, Pasta, Pizza … the list goes on.

I have to say that the food here was magnificent and definitely the best I have tasted in Manila. Although pricey at £45 a head, totally worth the treat! 

  • Spiral International Buffet
  • Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard Pasay City 1300 Metro Manila,
  • Mon-Sun: 6.30pm-10.30pm

The Refinery 🍳

Breakfast club 😋
If you find yourself craving really good coffee, I’d recommend this spot. The food is pretty awesome too and was definitely my favourite breakfast in Manila. I had a vanilla latte (150 pesos / £2.40) which was SO good I wanted another. I went for the Pomodoro (270 pesos / £4.30) which isn’t something I would normally pick off a menu but I thought I’d go against the grain. It was very tasty (albeit VERY garlicky… which isn’t the best move when you sing in people faces… poor Boq!) and I loved the toasted croissant bread – something I may have to try and replicate in my own kitchen at home.

  • Missouri Street, G/F, Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Centre, Greenhills, Makati, Metro Manila
  • Mon-Wed: 6am- 1am
  • Thu-Sat: 7am – 1am
  • Sunday: 6am – 1am

I hope these recommendations are helpful should you find yourself in Manila, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone at the Diamond Hotel, Solaire and all the lovely folk who came to support our show here, you’ve been awesome. We’ve had a blast and I will never forget my time in Manila.

Next stop Shanghai… but first a little three week break at home ❤
Lots of love,

Emily xxx

Thank you to James (@squeegool) for this incredible illustration of Boq and Nessa 🌹
Posted in Manila, Spa, Travel

Manila Part 3: Hanging Gardens & Hot Springs… 

Somebody pinch me please…

The wicked company have been on the International road for 25 weeks. It’s unbelievable how fast time has passed us by and now we are into our final week in Manila!

Being away from home was always going to be hard. I’ve banged on to you often enough of how much of a home bird I am and not being able to see my family and friends on tap is definitely a side of this job that I find challenging.

It’s days like today though, I am sat in a hot tub on the edge of a mountain in the Philippines that I just cannot believe my luck.

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens & Spa 🌸

Luljetta’s Hanging Garden is the first and only Hanging Gardens and Spa in the Philippines. Set in a mountain resort in Antipolo City, Rizal Province, Luljetta’s has breathtaking views of the majestic Laguna De Bay and Manila skyline.

What I loved about this place was that it was so rustic and enchanting. Often, resort spas can be a little commercialised but I found this one the complete opposite. The decor was beautiful and tranquil and as soon as I set foot inside the gardens I felt instantly relaxed.

Stunning views at Luljettas…
Our package included use of all the facilities, welcome drinks, lunch and a one hour full body massage and ear-candling.* we were also provided with towels, robes and a locker.

* Ear candling is an alternative medicine practice claimed to improve general health and well-being by lighting one end of a hollow candle and placing the other end in the ear canal.

The facilities include the beautiful hanging gardens, relaxation lounges, jacuzzi pools, hydro pools and my favourite, the infinity pool…

Pure bliss…
Lunch was nice and healthy, salad, soup and pasta with a lovely lemon and honey iced tea. I was (as per usual) a bit naughty and bought myself a cookies and cream milkshake… which was delish! There are plenty of snacks and drinks available throughout the day should you get a little peckish!

There was something extra relaxing about having a massage in amongst the picturesque and peaceful surroundings at Luljetta’s. I was uncertain if I would enjoy the ear candling but I actually fell asleep 😴… which says it all really! A perfect treatment to end a perfect day.

If you want a bit of relaxation and tranquillity away from the busy city of Manila then I would highly recommend Luljettas.

  • Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa
  • Loreland Farm Resort, Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City
  • Towels and robes provided
  • Pack bugspray, sunscreen, camera and swimsuit
  • Try the cookies and cream milkshake 😋
  • If you can, stick around for sunset, the view overlooking the  Manila skyline is beautiful.

 Hidden Valley Springs 🌺

Speaking of relaxing…
Hidden Valley Springs is a secluded and private resort naturally landscaped at the crater of an extinct forested volcano in Laguna.

We left at 7am to avoid the traffic as much as possible and the journey took around two and a half hours from where we were staying.

There are four stunning pools to explore in this beautiful resort and the botanical gardens are so peaceful. Follow the bamboo bridge and climb across the rocks to a hidden waterfall, we were very lucky as there was hardly anyone else here so we felt like we had our own little private paradise.

The lunch buffet included was really good, fresh and tasty and I must give a special mention to the coffee… which is the best I’ve tasted since I arrived in Manila 😊

  • Hidden Valley Springs
  • Pack Suncream, bugspray, towels and swimwear
  • Definitely leave early to avoid traffic as much as possible 😴

Six weeks have gone by in a flash (ahhhh) and this time next week I will be back home in Higham Ferrers with my family!

I have a couple more blogs up my sleeve about Manila… (one might be food themed… of course!) If you’ve seen my Instagram over the last few weeks, you can see I’ve been a bit of a busy (not to mention greedy) bee, buzzing my way around the delicious brunch bakeries and eateries in Makati… til next time…

Love Emily xxx

Posted in Foodie, Manila, Travel

Manila Part 2: The Biggest French Toast in the World… 

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

The Shaw Clan – circa the late 80s
I was about 8 years old at a family do.  It was the 90’s and prawn vol-au-vents were still a thing. I always looked forward to our family parties… lots of fun, games and silliness with my favourite silly people. But also the main event. The Buffet.

It’s all my Grandma’s fault really, she made these Raspberry Creams that everyone went nuts for. Raspberries and double cream cushioned by a dome of lady fingers in a bowl of sugary scrumptiousness. The taste was out of this world and as many times as I have tried, I can never seem to make one as delicious as my Grandma’s.

When it came to buffet time I liked to hang out in the kitchen and help bring out the dishes to the table. (And by bring out, I mean taste test each and every dish.)

I had three helpings of Raspberry cream. Three.

Since then, things haven’t changed much…

Yes… this is me stuffing my face on my wedding day… wearing and apron… I’m nothing if not prepared.

Wildflour Cafe & Bakery

If there’s one word I enjoy as much as buffet, it’s breakfast.

Having heard so many good reports about the food at the Wildflour cafe in Makati, I felt the only polite thing to do would be to go and check it out for myself…

Located in the financial district of Makati, it took us a little while to get there from the hotel.

In theory Makati is only about a 15 minute drive from where we are staying. In Manila, I suggest you allow at least 45 minutes for traffic where ever you are going… especially if you are going to a bakery… I mean, you wouldn’t want to miss out on those baked goods would you? 😜

And baked goods a plenty at Wildflour… I was in a bakery wonderland…

So happy 😊
The menu was extensive with such a variety to choose from. They also do lunch and dinner here- which I will, no doubt, go back and try at some point before I leave.

I chose the French toasted brioche with maple syrup (395pesos – £6.50)

It. Was. Delicious. It reminded me of my Mum’s bread and butter pudding 😋 It was also the size of a brick… the biggest French toast in the world (well… that I’ve seen!)  It beat me… and it’s very rare for me to not finish a meal… very rare indeed!

Homemade Granola (top left) Fluffy pancakes (top right) Salmon & Avocado tartan (bottom left)
Wildflour really is one of the best breakfast places that I have visited in a while, I am looking forward to returning once (or thrice) before I leave.

  • Wildflour Cafe & Bakery
  • Mon- Thurs:  7am- 10pm
  • Fri- Sat: 7am- 11pm
  • Sunday: 8am- 4pm
  • 125 LP Leviste Street, Salcedo Village 1227 Makati City

Four weeks down and three to go, I have so much more to explore and write about. If you have any recommendations of must try cafes, bars or restaurants then I’d love to hear from you… I am always up for trying something new!

As always, lots of love

Emily xxx

Grandma’s Raspberry Cream Recipe 🍰

You will need:

  • 2 Tins of Raspberries
  • A few fresh Raspberries
  • 170 ml double cream – whipped
  • 24 Italian sponge fingers (lady fingers)
  • Serves 4-6


Drain the tinned raspberries over a shallow dish, set aside the drained raspberries in a separate dish.

Soak the sponge fingers in the juice from the raspberries and start to line a pudding bowl (a glass Pyrex bowl is good as you can see if there are any cracks you have missed).

Be careful not to let the first few sponge fingers soak up all the raspberry juice, so move the soaked fingers onto a plate until you need them.

Once you have lined the bowl with the sponge fingers, put a spoonful of raspberries into the bowl, then add the whipped cream to cover the raspberries and continue to layer until you have reached the top.

You should have enough sponge fingers left to cover the top sealing the pudding.

Place a plate on top of the bowl with a weight on the plate. Put in the refrigerator and leave for at least two hours.

When ready to serve, turn the pudding bowl upside down on a serving plate and lift the bowl from the sponge fingers. At this point you can add fresh raspberries about the base of the Raspberry Cream. Enjoy!

Please feel free to send me photos of your Raspberry Cream efforts and what you think… I hope you enjoy it as much as me ❤️

Posted in Manila, Theatre, Travel

Manila Part One: Volcanoes & Sunsets…  

Someone once told me that the Philippines is one of the friendliest places on Earth. I certainly agree. The people here are so warm, friendly and welcoming.

We have been in Manila for two weeks now with Wicked. Ever since we found out we would be touring here, I was so intrigued and excited, as I have never been to the Philippines before.

As usual, our first week was busy with fixing the show up at the gorgeous Soltaire Theatre. The audiences have been so supportive and we had an incredible opening night… they certainly know how to party here! 😜

Opening Night

Taal Volcano 🌋 

Taal Volcano is a geological wonder being that it is a volcano within a lake within a volcano and it is the smallest active volcano in the world. I cannot express how incredible this experience was. It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

An Island within a Lake within a Volcano within a Lake within a Volcano 👌

Like Hong Kong, it was pretty amazing to see that just a few hours drive from the city, we were in this beautiful wonderland.

We had an incredibly early start (which I would recommend to avoid traffic) and when we arrived at the port we were met by Jason, our tour guide who was as friendly as he was knowledgeable.

From Luzon, we got a boat over to the Volcano and we were met by the locals who live there. We were then guided, on horse back, along a secret trail up to the top.

Our guides took us to the hot springs and the volcanic steam vents that gave off a sulphuric odour…

This video is of the boiling hot springs  on the Volcano, it reminded me a little of “The Bog of eternal stench” as seen in one of my favourite films, Labyrinth.

Jareth: If I thought for one second that you were betraying me, I’d be forced to suspend you head first in the Bog of Eternal Stench.


Jareth: Oh, YES, Hoggle!

To see the volcanic lakes and hot springs was one thing, but we actually got to get in and have a swim! This was quite literally one of the best experiences of my tour so far. The natural beauty that surrounded us, plus a little spa treatment thrown in… as we covered ourselves from head to toe in volcanic clay.

A cheeky mud mask… don’t mind if I do!
The lovely Dean organised this trip for us through E-Philippines. The trip included transport to and from our hotel, a boat ride and a horse ride along a secret trail. In total for 20 people it worked out at 3,100 pesos each (roughly £50!)

  • Taal Volcano
  • Booked through E Philippines
  • Pack sunscreen, snacks & bug spray.
  • Remember to bring some cash to tip your guide 😊

A beautiful Sunset captured from my window…
Not only are the people here in the Philippines so friendly but the sunsets are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I am so very much looking forward to exploring and hopefully getting away to some of the iconically stunning islands that surround us.

Two weeks down and five weeks to go on my Philippine adventure. This tour is certainly flying by (pardon the pun!)

Lots of love

Emily xxx

Happy Valentines everyone 💕 xxx