Tag Archives: afternoon tea

Mother’s Day – ‘Experience’ Gift Ideas

24 Feb

When it comes to birthdays or special occasions, I love treating people to ‘experiences’, whether it be a day out, an activity or even a meal. I think experiences can be more memorable, special and don’t always have to cost a fortune. With Mother’s Day now just over a month away (30th March), I got to thinking about possible experience gifts for Mother’s Day for a range of budgets…

Recipease: Jamie Oliver Cooking Lessons

Jamie Oliver’s ‘Recipease’ lessons are a great idea for a mum that is into her food. All classes are taught by Jamie’s top chefs and typically range between 1 hour – 2 hours long, with prices starting from around £20 pp. With lessons ranging from ‘Vietnamese Street Food’ to ‘Bread Baking’, there is something to cater for every taste! Even better, some of the lessons have money off if two people come together, making it an ideal activity for mother and daughter/son! Classes are held in London or Brighton

Jamie Oliver Recipease

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is always a popular choice but it can also be difficult deciding where to go, especially with so many options and some places charging almost £100 per person! My all-time favourite has been the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Party at The Sanderson Hotel in London which I think costs around £35 per person. Not only was the food fun, tasty and unique, but the staff were so lovely and the setting was gorgeous – you can read my review here. If a classical style tea is more your fancy, then afternoon tea at somewhere iconic like Claridges, The Ritz or The Savoy are special – if slightly touristy – options. (You can read my review of the Ritz here). 

Coffee and Walnut cake

The Sanderson

Lunch at a Ceramic Café

Why not get the creative juices flowing and have lunch at a ceramic café! I recently went to Biscuit-Biscuit in Greenwich where you can choose from a whole bunch of ceramic objects, grab your colours and get painting whilst you eat. Prices start from about £10 – you can read my review of that here. Not only is this something a little different, it also means you can come away with memories and a little souvenir!

Ceramic cafe Greenwich

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Outdoor Or Drive In Cinema

Outdoor cinemas really get going in the summer, though there are a couple that have heated marquees all year long and of course some drive-through cinemas where you can stay in the comfort of your own car! This might be a nice option if your mum has a favourite film or genre that might be showing. There is Press Play showing films across the South as well as the Rooftop Film Club which show films all year long, mostly at the beautiful Kensington Roof Gardens which has a heated canopy and lots of gorgeous plants, making it a lovely setting all year round. You can see the listings here.  Last summer I went to one of these at the Queen of Hoxton rooftop and it was so much fun – you can read my review of that here!

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Afternoon Tea at Sketch

16 Dec

Every year, my mum and I arrange one day together to have a completely festive day out and this year we decided to have a wander around London with afternoon tea included! 

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Wearing my favourite coat from Forever 21!

We began our morning by having a little look around the Southbank Christmas markets as this is probably the quietest time to see them. As usual, there were plenty of Gingerbread houses, Bratwurst, snowglobes and handmade crafts which really get you in the Christmas spirit! We then headed over to Sketch, just around the corner from Oxford Circus tube station and just off Regent Street.

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Afternoon tea at Sketch

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The Glade

Sketch is a quirky restaurant with different themed rooms split across a number of levels. As we went on a Monday, our afternoon tea was held in the Glade, a smaller, forest-themed room downstairs. (This is just across from The Martin Creed Gallery Restaurant which is a much bigger room where main meals and weekend afternoon teas are held). The Glade was lovely, serene and relaxing, though in my opinion it did seem a little too quiet as there was no background music. Weirdly, the most sound was in the toilets which was a room of modern looking white pods that were filled with strange whale/crashing sounds or a man talking about kilometres… very odd! 

Mum getting lost in the pods!

Mum getting lost in the pods!

On the way to the pods! Wearing a Forever 21 Jumper, H&M shirt and Urban Outfitters tartan skirt

On the way to the pods! Wearing a Forever 21 Jumper, H&M shirt and Urban Outfitters tartan skirt

At the table with my new Just Fabb bag

At the table with my new Just Fabb bag

The afternoon tea itself was tasty and unique – I appreciate restaurants that offer something slightly different to the standard afternoon teas, which is why I am still such a fan of The Sanderson Hotel’s Mad Hatters Tea Party afternoon tea! We went for the ordinary afternoon tea which still had many different elements that were all explained to us at the time – you can read their detailed menu here. The sandwiches were quite nice but it was really all about the desserts!  The greek yoghurt mousse with blackcurrant marmalade & creme de cassis jelly was so zingy and tasty, as was the chestnut & cranberry tartlet. The gianduja chocolate eclair was sweet and sticky and the coconut and praline lollipop was also gorgeous. The scones were a good mix of fluffy/dense and not only came with strawberry jam but also a deliciously sweet fig jam. I washed this all down with peppermint tea which was constantly topped up by the sweet, efficient staff. 

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Overall, the afternoon tea was lovely and the staff were great but unfortunately there was so much cleaning/repair work/maintence going on all around the building that this kind of took away some of the magic. Perhaps this is because it was a Monday and the quietest day in terms of customers but it was a little disappointing.

After being so indulgent, mum and I had a little walk around Covent Garden and a quick browse around the shops before settling down to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory show at the Drury Lane theatre. It is the perfect show to see this time of year as it is so bright, colourful and makes you feel like a kid again! I just wish the chocolate factory had been introduced earlier as it was so amazing and didn’t appear until 10 minutes into the second half of the show!

 Have you been to Sketch before? What are your favourite things to do in London at Christmas?

 

Early Birthday Celebrations: The Ritz Afternoon Tea and Piccadilly Institute

14 Apr

I don’t officially turn 23 until next week (20th April to be exact) but as I will be in Rome then I got to celebrate in London this weekend!

On Friday I met my gorgeous mummy from Euston train station and we headed to Harrods for the Dior Exhibition (which you can read about here) before our high tea afternoon at The Ritz. Afternoon tea at The Ritz is done in sessions, so we joined many other excited ladies for the 1.30pm seating. It is fair to say the hotel is absolutely beautiful; there are huge gold and white curtains, gilded mirrors, real silver ornate teapots and cutlery, a pianist playing at a grand piano and even the toilets are powder puff pink with huge murals on the walls! It is hard not to feel excited when you are surrounded by such luxury.

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In the ladies powder room

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The beautiful afternoon tea setting

Yes, I am grade 3 paino

Yes, I do take requests

We went for the standard Afternoon Tea which includes a selection of finger sandwiches, plain scones with jam and cream, a pot of tea and a selection of mini cakes. The sandwiches were the traditional type, including egg and cress, cheese and pickle, ham and mustard, smoked salmon with lemon butter, and chicken mayo. After you finish your first sandwiches a waiter in tails comes round to see if you want anymore, so we of course said yes!

The mini cakes included a rich chocolate cake, a cream bakewell tart cake and macaroons, though half way through our seating another waiter came around with a trolley offering coffee and walnut cake (which was DELICIOUS!), lemon drizzle cake and a panna cotta desert. By this time we were getting really stuffed, though we still managed to sample the scones with thick Devonshire cream and sweet strawberry jam.

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Peppermint tea!

Peppermint tea!

Coffee and Walnut cake

Coffee and Walnut cake

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It was definitely a fabulous way to spend a rainy London afternoon and I would absolutely recommend it for the excitement and indulgence, though saying this, you do get the slight sense that they are not paying as much attention to you as they are busy thinking about turning over for the next shift. Plus the pianist didn’t play for very long! I have to say, I still think the Mad Hatter Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson Hotel might have the slight edge…

Last night I went out at Piccadilly Institute which seems to have a million rooms over a million floors! I was with a big group so it was hard at first keeping track of everyone , especially as it was so busy (and hot) but we had a good night with plenty of dancing. I wore a Primark cut-out aztec dress underneath my Zara drop hem skirt but there aren’t many good pics of me from the night so I shall leave you with this bad boy!

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