Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Afternoon Tea News.....Afternoon Coffee at The Arch London

Hello there,

Welcome back to an afternoon tea....or should that be afternoon coffee news article from Tea With Me and Friends! Yes, today we are sharing a little news from the world of coffee (shock horror!). When Lorna and I first started enjoying afternoon tea adventures we were rather partial to a cup of coffee....in some cases we might have asked for coffee instead of tea....yes I know...terrible behaviour! Lorna will probably not forgive me for letting our little secret out!

Today we still love a cup of strong black coffee and also rather enjoy coffee cake.....so when we heard about this afternoon coffee adventure to celebrate Coffee Week (4-10 May 2015) we wanted to find out more!

Priced at £37 per person, the Afternoon Coffee will include coffee treats to delight coffee lovers such as coffee flavour macaroons, mini coffee éclairs and cakes, as well as a selection of other cakes and pastries, finger sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, and of course a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Doesn't that sound divine?

The Arch is a 5* London hotel, and afternoon  coffee (or indeed afternoon tea) is served in the ‘Martini Library’ which apparently is rather good for cocktails and also full of beautiful Taschen and Daunt books, celebrating the golden age of Broadway. Look out for the discreet ‘butler buttons’ which are placed by the armchairs!

The Arch, London - the Martini Library

Well, I think this afternoon coffee adventure sounds just perfect for all you afternoon tea lovers who also enjoy indulging in a cup of coffee. You can try this afternoon coffee experience at The Arch during Coffee Week and if you do indulge we'd love to hear about your experience!

If you are more traditional in your afternoon tea adventures, you can also indulge in a traditional afternoon tea which is also served in the Martini Library and costs £37.00 per person.

More information can be found on The Arch's website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Time for Tea....Mr Foggs

Hello there,

Welcome back to another afternoon tea review from Tea With Me and Friends...this week we have a fab afternoon tea adventure for you from Mr Foggs in London.

Mr Foggs is an intriguing place.....the "home" of Phileas Fogg Esq. - guests are invited to enjoy evening cocktails in the Fogg Mayfair abode which is packed to the rafters with artifacts "discovered" by the explorer Mr Fogg. On Friday and Saturdays afternoon tea adventurers can also descend upon the Fogg household for a spot of tipsy afternoon tea. The perfect spot to celebrate a Tea With Me and Friends Birthday we thought!

Booking can be done online or via telephone, but for afternoon tea you will also be required to provide a credit card to guarantee your booking. Once you find this hidden gem you will be amazed at the styling of the drawing room/bar both inside and out.....

Mr Foggs from the outside

My photos really don't do the interior justice....there is just so much to marvel at once you are in your seats....

Mr Foggs from the inside
Mr Foggs

We were given our menus and asked to peruse them and soak in the surroundings. As the name suggests this is a tipsy tea and therefore the tea is of the alcoholic variety....namely gin or champagne cocktails. Guests can either pick one teapot from the seven cocktails on offer...or they can opt to have a bottomless teapot and work your way through either the three gin cocktails or the four champagne cocktails. It's worth noting that the bottomless teapots are limited to your two hour tipsy tea experience.

We opted for the bottomless gin teapot which included the following cocktails:

Earl Grey infused Tanqueray No.TEN gin,
steeped in a teapot with Cointreau, crème de pêche
and orange marmalade.

Woburn Abbey
English Breakfast infused Tanqueray No.TEN gin,
steeped in a teapot with crème de bergamot, lemon
juice and bee pollen sugar with milk on the side.

Catherine of Braganza
Green Tea infused Tanqueray No.TEN gin,
steeped in a teapot with Cointreau, crème de apricot
and orange marmalade

Mr Foggs bottomless teapots

Once we had our first teapot the rest of the afternoon tea was served....

Afternoon tea - Mr Foggs

Now, the eagle eyed of you out there will notice something is missing from this wonderful spread.....yes, there are no scones (shock horror!) instead we had sandwiches, lots of different cakes and some macaroons. Now...... as you are reading this review just bear in mind that this is a tipsy tea.

Let's start with the sandwiches....

Afternoon tea sandwiches - Mr Foggs

I think it's safe to say that this was the low point of the whole experience....the sandwiches were of the finger variety and they were crustless and fresh....but the fillings were uninspiring and the bread was just white bread. 

The fillings included ham and cheese, cucumber (just cucumber - no butter nor cream cheese), salmon and tuna and sweetcorn. 

There was nothing wrong with the sandwiches as such....but they weren't exactly filling and to be honest I could make better sandwiches at home....here is a closer look....

Afternoon tea sandwiches - Mr Foggs
It's also worth noting that the teapots might be bottomless, but the food is limited....what you see on the stand is what you get.

Once we had consumed the rather flat sandwiches (we're still not sure how they were so flat) we moved up the cake stand to the sweet treats...which looked rather rustic but were all rather good.

Afternoon tea cakes - Mr Foggs

The middle tier included custard slices which were delicious and light and another sweet pastry with a nutty filling (I think this was from Germany, but my memory is a little blurred by the teapots we consumed). We enjoyed both of these a lot, but they were rather messy to eat.

Afternoon tea cakes - Mr Foggs

The top tier included some rather scrummy pistachio cake, three different macaroons and some chocolate truffles. The cake was moist and scrummy and we each enjoyed our macaroon.

As you can see the cakes were all rather rustic in appearance, but they were all fresh and tasty.

Afternoon tea at Mr Foggs

During our two hour experience we made our way through all three gin cocktails....all of which were very good and well made....they are definitely the main attraction in this afternoon tea adventure and outshone the food served. Once you have finished your afternoon tea you are welcome to stay in the bar and work your way through the extensive cocktail list (if you can still see straight after your teapots!).

The service was friendly and each cocktail is handmade at the bar, the waiters are happy to make recommendations if you can't pick which teapot you want to try.

The afternoon tea costs £38 per person for a single teapot or £58 per person for a bottomless gin teapot and £68 per person for a bottomless champagne teapot. I think we got approximately two and a half cups out of each gin teapot.

This is definitely a quirky afternoon tea experience - especially good for anyone who enjoys a cocktail or two! However, not so good if you are looking for a traditional afternoon tea experience.

For more information visit the Mr Foggs website.

So, over to you....have you enjoyed a quirky afternoon tea anywhere? Let us know by leaving a comment below....

Thank you for popping by today,

Friday, 24 April 2015

The Friday Review.....Dragonfly Tea

Hello there,

Well, it's Friday again (doesn't it come around quickly!) and so that means it's time to share with you our latest tea review. This week we wanted to share a slightly overdue review with you from Dragonfly Tea. Earlier this month a wonderful surprise arrived at Tea With Me and Friends Towers in the form of a scrummy dark chocolate Easter egg. However, this was no normal Easter egg....just look what we found inside....

Easter treats from Dragonfly Tea

Now I'm afraid that I don't have a photo of the beautiful Easter egg before I decided to smash it to pieces! I can tell you that it was made by New Forest Chocolates and was a decadent dark chocolate with a gold dusting.....and it was really nice....so nice that Lorna might not have actually eaten any of it (sorry Lorna!).

Now inside the egg I found four Dragonfly teabags.....

Dragonfly Tea

Dragonfly Tea are a family-owned, British company with a hundred year heritage of sourcing, growing and making pure and fine teas. They offer tea lovers a range of authentic, artisan teas from across the globe, and include black, green, white, naturally caffeine free and rooibos teas. 

All Dragonfly Teas are organic and each string & tag sachet comes individually sealed. On your tags you will find wonderful little quotes to make you smile.....

We were looking forward to sampling the four teas we found nestled inside our Easter egg (so much better than finding chocolate inside!). We had "Emerald Mountain" an organic green tea, "Golden Himalaya" an organic Darjeeling tea, "Cape Malay Chai" and organic spiced Rooibos and "Swirling Mist" an organic white tea to sample. Aren't those names just fabulous!

Let the tea tasting begin.....

Dragonfly Tea Tasting

We decided to try the four teas together so we could compare the flavours and really notice the difference between the teas....so we got our favourite teacups out (and my beautiful new Fortnum and Masons mug!) and got brewing.

The first thing we noticed was the difference in colours of the different teas....

Dragonfly Tea Tasting

From left to right we have the white tea which was a pale yellow hue, next the rooibos which was a rosy red, next the Darjeeling which was a beautiful amber and finally the green tea which had a pale green colour. All were vibrant, but clear.

Let's start with the Emerald Mountain, the green tea....

Emerald Mountain Organic Green Tea, Dragonfly Tea

This tea comes from Southern China and is a beautiful light green colour once brewed for approximately two minutes. It has a smooth and light flavour.....with no hint of bitterness.

Next came Golden Himalaya, the organic Darjeeling....

Golden Himalaya Organic Darjeeling Tea, Dragonfly Tea

I love the bright amber of this tea, its so welcoming and made me smile once it had brewed. This tea comes from tea gardens in the Himalayan foothills.

The flavour is warm and rich but remains light....it has a slight fruity taste which I really enjoyed. This was my favourite of the four teas and would make a lovely cuppa to brighten your day.

We then moved onto the Cape Malay Chai, the organic spiced rooibos....

Cape Malay Chai, Organic Spiced Rooibos, Dragonfly Tea

Now if you have read any of our Friday Reviews before you'll know my feelings about Rooibos teas....I have never really "got" them. However, the brilliant thing about The Friday Review blog posts is that its allowing me to expand my taste buds.

This tea has a lovely rosy hue, but as you can see from the photo it is still clear and not cloudy. It also has a wonderful spicy aroma. The taste too is warm, soothing and lightly spiced....not at all overpowering.

Finally we have the Swirling Mist, an organic white tea....

Swirling Mist, organic white tea, Dragonfly Tea

This is a delicate and light tea, which has a pale yellow hue when brewed for a couple of minutes. Lorna commented that this was a refreshing cup of tea, very thirst quenching.

All in all we enjoyed all these teas and would like to thank Dragonfly Tea for sending us these samples. We also have some more blends to try so watch this space for another Friday Review coming soon!

To find out more about the Dragonfly Teas please visit their website, here you will also be able to find out Stockists or buy directly online.

So, over to you....have you tried any of the Dragonfly Teas? Do you have a favourite Dragonfly Tea....let us know which it is....

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Time for something a little bit different....Tea

Hello there,

Happy Saturday! Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends.

Today is a special day, as two of our friends are getting married - a huge congratulations to Alex and Aron! Now, this might seem like a bit of an unusual post for Tea With Me and Friends...but I promise there is some afternoon tea coming up!

I had the pleasure of attending Alex's hen weekend in Bristol, a group of us hired a house and had a lovely weekend. It was organised by Alex's bridesmaids Louise and Lauren, and they had the brainwave of hosting an afternoon tea at the house during one of the afternoons. As a group we thought this was a fab idea and all wanted to contribute to this afternoon tea adventure.

If you have popped by the blog before you might recognise Alex's name, as she is rather passionate about afternoon tea and often comes on our adventures! We began the morning with some crafting, each of us making a felt cat head that will be made into cat bunting for Alex....

Alex getting her craft on!
 We got very creative with our cats....

Then later in the afternoon we prepared the afternoon tea spread, which was all homemade.....

A homemade afternoon tea spread

As you can see the house was very well equipped for hosting a proper afternoon tea, just look at this wonderful cupboard (which we made the most of!)....

A proper china cupboard!

We were very traditional and included all the usual items in our afternoon tea....

Crustless afternoon tea sandwiches

The sandwiches were crustless and the scones were served warm....

Homemade afternoon tea scones

The sweet treats were all so different and included lemon cake, coffee cake, cat shaped vanilla biscuits, mini victoria sponges...you name it and we probably had it....

Afternoon tea sweets

Mini victoria sponges

We even had these amazing cat shaped cake pops, which were rich and scrummy....

Cat cake pops!

We were all really pleased with our efforts and so was Alex when we finally let her see the spread....

Alex and her afternoon tea spread!

All in all this was a wonderful experience that I got to share with a lovely group of ladies.

So, over to you....do you have any homemade afternoon tea photos that you'd like to share with us? We'd love to hear about your afternoon tea adventures at home - please leave us a comment!

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Time for Tea.....Kensington Hotel, London

Hello there,

Welcome back to another fab guest post from Tea With Me and Friends....this time the lovely Becca has been on another afternoon tea adventure....this time she sampled the Fashion Forward afternoon tea which is currently on offer at the Kensington Hotel.

To celebrate the arrival of the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Kensington Hotel has created the Fashion Forward Afternoon Tea, which is currently on offer. The afternoon tea includes a collection of cakes, pastries and savoury dishes inspired by some of McQueen's most iconic designs.

Here's what Becca thought of her adventure in a fashion conscious afternoon tea....

Fashion Forward afternoon tea
Kensington Hotel

The afternoon tea was very nice, the sandwiches were my favourite part. The fillings included cucumber and cream cheese, chicken and bacon, egg mayonnaise and salmon - all were fresh and there wasn't a crust in sight!

Fashion Forward afternoon tea sandwiches
Kensington Hotel

Next came boiled quails eggs with edible gold leaf, which were lovely. This was followed by pastry cones filled with foi gras, which wasn't to my personal taste. There were also small shot glasses filled with fresh lobster mousse, avocado mousse and then another layer at the bottom (but I didn't get that far because I'm afraid I wasn't a fan of the top layers).

Savoury items - Kensington Hotel

The scones came next, the plain scone was very tasty - but crumbled into small pieces when you tried to cut it, making it very difficult to eat.

Afternoon tea scones - Kensington Hotel

The cakes were nice, although I was slightly disappointed, as what we were served was different to what was advertised when we booked this tea. Amongst the sweets were shortbread shaped as dresses, and a pana cotta mousse with passion fruit coulis. The mini macaroons were also very nice.

Fashion Forward afternoon tea sweet treats!
Kensington Hotel

The food was all very nice, but unfortunately the service was slightly lacking and you had to ask for things when they ran out (like more tea). We were able to take home anything that we didn't finish during the afternoon.

Kensington Hotel

It's shame that not all elements of this afternoon tea was up to par for Becca - it just goes to illustrate that all elements need to be right to make the perfect afternoon tea adventure. The Fashion Forward afternoon tea is currently on offer at £35.00 per person, and is available until 2nd August 2015. For more information please see the Kensington Hotel website.

A big thank you to Becca for sharing her afternoon tea adventure with us, if you've experienced an afternoon tea recently that you would like to share just drop us a line!

Don't forget to pop by our YouTube channel today to see Lorna's latest post!

Thank you for popping by today,

Friday, 10 April 2015

The Friday Review....Good & Proper Tea

Hello there,

Happy Friday! Welcome back to another tea review!

A couple of weeks ago Lorna and I went to the Classic Car Boot Sale, which was hosted in London on the Southbank. It was a bitterly cold Saturday and I had decided that wearing my finest vintage attire was a good idea....as you can imagine I froze! As the feeling was slowly seeping out of my fingers I knew I needed one thing to warm me up....a good cup of tea!

Luckily I found this....

the Good & Proper Tea Company Citron H van

Yes, amongst the usual coffee vans and burger trucks, there stood this cute little tea van from the Good & Proper Tea Company. If like me you hadn't discovered the Good & Proper Tea Company before, I can tell you that they are on a mission to bring decent tea to the streets of London....and on that Saturday that's exactly what I needed!

After perusing the menu board (yes as well as tea they do crumpets!) and picking my brew I queued up in an orderly fashion with the other vintage lovers in need of a decent cuppa...

Tea & Crumpets!

Now, when I got to the front I was confronted by this wonderful sight....

Good & Proper Tea being freshly brewed

Yes, they are teapots, full of loose leaf tea, being left to brew for different amounts of time depending on your tipple of choice! No mass made cups of tea here, each cup is brewed properly....

Good & Proper Tea Company in action

Yes, before you ask....I told him that I was going to take his photo and splash it all over our afternoon tea blog....he seemed fine with this! Once orders were taken, you simply stood to one side and waited for the tea leaves to do their magic!

Once I finally got my hands on my cup of tea I was really pleased as you can tell from this photo....

Rachel looking much warmer!

Not only was I warmed instantly, I also really enjoyed my cup of freshly brewed tea! I went for the Jade Tips (green) tea which is a Mao Jian tea. The leaves produced a sweet green tea with a flowery aroma, which was bright, pale green-yellow in appearance.

It was a really refreshing blend, easy to drink (and much appreciated as I was so cold!).

The Good & Proper Tea Company is the brainwave of Emilie Holmes, who took her idea of serving loose leaf, custom blended teas from a 1974 Citroen H van to a crowd funding website. Her dream became reality when over 350 backers pledged funds to get the project started. 

Being a van, it obviously moves around - but you can see where The Good & Proper Tea Company are next by taking a peek at their website. You can also buy their loose leaf tea from the website, the Jade Tips blend I enjoyed retails at £6.00 for 50g.

Despite the cold, we had a brilliant time at the Classic Car Boot Sale....

Lorna caught increasing her
vintage wardrobe!

We can only dream.....

Thanks for popping by today,

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Time for Tea....Radisson Blu Guildford

Hello there,

Welcome back to a very special guest blog post at Tea With Me and Friends!

This is a special post because we are joined by someone who has experienced their very first afternoon tea adventure.....and she is just eight years old! Connie visited the Radisson Blu in Guildford, Surrey with her family recently and she wanted to share her adventure with us....

Connie Lewis a review from Radisson Blu Guildford

Connie reporting for Tea With Me and Friends
from Radisson Blu Guildford

Today I have been to have afternoon tea to celebrate Mother's Day with my Nanny and also my brothers 11 birthday!

When we arrived we were shown the menu and given a choice of teas and for us kids a milkshake!  I chose strawberry and it was truly amazing. You could tell it was made with ice cream and real strawberries!

Afternoon tea - Radisson Blu Guildford

We had a selection of sandwiches that were delicious on fresh soft bread and my favourite were cucumber that had been cut in heart shapes.

Heart shaped afternoon tea sandwiches
Radisson Blu Guildford

I ate the pastries after, my favourite being a chocolate truffle.  We also had mini eclairs and raspberry tarts.  Homemade shortbread biscuits and fresh strawberries to dip into the chocolate sauce.  I noticed that mummy kept asking for milk as it was in very small jugs and when there was 7 of us it didn't last long.  I thought it would be nice if they had brought it over instead of mummy having to ask.

Afternoon tea pastries
Radisson Blu Guildford

Shortbread, cream and jam
Radisson Blu Guildford

The waiter asked us if it was a special occasion and mummy told him it was my brothers birthday yesterday.  He brought out a plate saying happy birthday with a lit candle. I liked that they did this.

I thought the scones were light and fresh not like the kind we have at home!! And plenty of them (we took 7 home in a take away box!)

I found my afternoon tea very exciting and hope my mum will take me again.

Mummy asked me to mention that it was a reasonable price for us kids to come along also!

It sounds like Connie had a wonderful first afternoon tea adventure. Connie also made a short video of her experience, take a peek at our YouTube channel to see more!

Connie and her family enjoyed a Queen of Hearts afternoon tea which costs £17.50 per adults and  £10.00 per child (under 12). You can choose four of the five afternoon tea fillings on offer, pick from Cheddar cheese, Cucumber, Egg mayonnaise, Honey roast ham or Smoked salmon. For more information about this tea visit the Radisson Blu website.

A huge thank you to Connie (and her family) for sharing her afternoon tea with us - we are so pleased that she enjoyed the experience! Don't forget to take a peek at Connie's vlog post too!

Thank you for popping by today,