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Afternoon Tea in London

Anyone else a big Timehop fan?! I am really enjoying this app which gives you little snapshots of what you were up to years ago. I have linked my blog to it and it is lovely rereading recipes, nail art and weekends away that we enjoyed and to see how my styles and tastes have changed over time. It is also for this reason that I like to document my mini-breaks, especially when they are to celebrate best friends’ 30th birthdays!

This weekend, Ian and I headed up to London to enjoy some time with our besties. We decided to catch a slightly later train up from Bath on Friday evening which gave us enough time to grab a quick bite at Grillstock. I opted for ribs and a root beer which truly hit the spot whilst Ian had a chilli dog.

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Our train journey was pretty uneventful; chai tea, a bit of reading, a quick podcast then before we knew it we were at our friend Lucie’s flat with a cup of tea in hand. I gave Lucie one of her birthday presents which I handmade and which, quite literally, took me weeks. It may seem a slightly strange option but I cross-stitched my friend a map of Serbia! It was my neatest ever cross-stitching effort and that surely wins some good friendship points?!

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The next morning was glorious sunshine so after a lovely lazy breakfast at Owen’s and a browse around their deli, we headed up to Alexandra Park for views of the city and a fresh brew.

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That afternoon we met the rest of our party at The Mandeville Hotel for afternoon tea. We started with white peach bellinis before deciding between the ‘Vintage’ and ‘Gentlemen’s’ afternoon tea.

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I opted for the Vintage as I just love posh finger sandwiches with no crusts! A couple of people in our party ordered the Gentlemen’s and I have to admit to having a bit of food envy when I saw their steak and snails, fish fingers and sausage rolls arrive!

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I would recommend this place for a group booking as the service was excellent. Several people at our table had booked the unlimited champagne option and the waiters kept their glasses topped up throughout the afternoon.

The Vintage came with roast chicken and stuffing, smoked salmon and cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches, a beautiful scone with jam and cream and a selection of mini cakes. My favourites were the apple and custard pots with crumble topping, the Battenberg and the coffee and walnut slice.

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There was also a good selection of loose tea; I had the pear caramel tea which was delicious.

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After all those cakes, we headed out for a few drinks then back home for a takeaway and Cards Against Humanity (so wrong, but so funny!)

I think I am a well-established country girl now but I do love a city break and time with good friends is pretty much priceless. Right, onto the next cross-stitch…

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A London Weekend

We spent this weekend seeing friends in London and as always managed to fit a lot in. It started as all good train journeys should; with good coffee and a pastry – I am slightly obsessed with these almond croissants from Bertinet Bakery in Bath!

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After accidentally booking the longest train journey possible (!), we were soon in London and making our way across the city to my friend Cat’s gorgeous new flat.

Following lunch, we decided a bit of culture was in order so walked through Hyde Park to the Serpentine museums. We saw Marina Abramovic’s 512 Hours exhibition. I will state now that I am no art critic and I don’t want to give anything away if you are planning on going but it was definitely an interesting experience! I haven’t been to see much performance art, especially not with any audience interaction, but this was one of the strangest exhibitions I have ever seen and put me completely out of my comfort zone. Whilst it wasn’t something that I could really appreciate, it was a completely new and different experience and I am glad we tried it.

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The show gave us plenty to talk about so we popped down to the V&A for a spot of afternoon tea and cake. The dining rooms there are stunning and it was lovely to just take in the surroundings whilst enjoying our treats.

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After a quick change and some G&Ts, we were back into town again for dinner. We ate at Bob Bob Ricard, a Russian-English fusion restaurant. The entire evening was stunning and I will review the restaurant in the next few days.

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Then it was on to a wine bar for some post-dinner drinkies.

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We made it home in time to watch the Netherlands come through their penalty shootout and fit in some bad 80s-style dancing!

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All in all, an ace weekend in the big smoke with good food and great friends…the stuff weekends are made for!

 

Restaurant Review – Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms, Bath

Phew…it was another hot one this weekend! As tempting as it was to just stay inside and avoid the heat, I was out and about. The temperatures in Las Vegas are reaching record highs at the moment so I feel like I need to get used to the sun a bit more before we go!

On Friday afternoon, it was my school’s summer fete. It was a gorgeous afternoon and I rewarded myself with a huge Mr Whippy ice-cream afterwards!

Later that evening, I headed over to Bath to collect my best friend Cat from the train station then it was back to mine for an Indian takeaway, peach bellinis and chatting long into the early hours of the morning.

The next day, Ian headed off to the beach so us girls had a lazy morning, eating bagels and drinking tea, then it was into our sundresses and over to Bath. We worked our way through the shops then wandered up to Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms for afternoon tea.

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I had been wanting to try this place for a while, ever since my friend had her baby shower here and the photos looked lovely. My first impression of this place was very good. It was light and airy with pretty pieces of mismatched linen and china on the tables, waitresses with 1940s style headscarves on and vintage mirrors hanging on the walls.

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We sat down in a window seat and perused the menu which looked like it had a lot of homemade cakes and other local produce in it – big thumbs up from me!

Unfortunately the tearooms are not air conditioned so as soon as Cat and I spotted an outside table we snuck outside and nabbed it!

The service and welcome wasn’t great if I’m being honest but after a while, our order was taken…tiered afternoon tea for two.

I found it very odd that a pot of tea wasn’t actually included in this but given the heat I was actually glad to be able to opt for a more refreshing strawberry milkshake!

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We sat outside, indulging in our favourite hobby of people watching and then our lunch arrived.

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I can’t help but get excited when confronted with three tiers of baked loveliness and these treats ticked the boxes for me!

On the bottom layer, we started with three types of finger sandwiches: egg and cress, smoked salmon and cucumber. The bread was soft and fresh and all three were delicious.

Then it was onto the scones, jam and cream. I opted for the Cornish method, Cat went the Devon way!

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Finally, we had two huge slices of cake on top which admittedly defeated us. The Victoria sponge was amazing, filled with jam, fresh cream and fresh strawberries too. This was definitely our favourite.

We also had a chocolate and cherry cake which reminded us both of a Black Forest gateau. I’m not sure if it was the heat but this was a little too heavy for us and we only managed a few mouthfuls.

Overall, this was a lovely way to pass an afternoon and I would bring friends here again for tea and cake. My only small criticisms would be the service received which could have been more attentive and the huge slices of cake which I think could have been slightly more refined.

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