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

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Time for Tea....Frensham Garden Centre

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - I hope you are well today.

Last weekend Alex and I decided to visit another local garden centre in the Farnham area to try their afternoon tea. For this afternoon tea adventure we decided to pay Frensham Garden Centres a visit, as they have a tea room and restaurant located outside with the plants....

When we arrived at the tea room we were shown to a corner table that had been reserved for us and we were asked what we wanted to drink before the afternoon tea stand was brought out. The afternoon tea consists of a stand featuring sandwiches, scones and cakes for two and your choice of a cup of coffee or a pot of tea. 

When I called to book the tea I was asked if I had a sandwich filling preference, and I opted to go with the standard fillings that are served - this included:
egg mayonnaise

The sandwiches were all fresh, crustless and well filled. I also liked the addition of fresh cherry tomato and rocket.

Next we moved onto the scones. There were two large scones on the stand, which were served with clotted cream and preserve....

Alex was very pleased to see that we each had a pot of cream!

The scones looked rather "robust", but when we cut into them they were baked well and not too tough! We had two pots of jam, one strawberry and one raspberry.

Finally we moved onto the selection of cakes and pastries....

We were spoilt for choice with the selection, which included a piece of Victoria sponge, a piece of lemon drizzle cake, an eclair and a millefeuille.

All the cakes were fresh and tasty, but the lemon drizzle was my favourite, which full of flavour.

All in all this was a scrummy afternoon tea. 

You didn't get any additional food or drink refills - but at £19.95 for two this is great value. Everything was fresh and tasty and we didn't leave hungry!

As this is a small garden centre tea room you need to call in advance and book a table if you want to enjoy the full afternoon tea experience. Otherwise you can just pop by and enjoy a piece of cake from the selection on offer.

Do you have a local garden centre or tea room that offers a brilliant afternoon tea? We'd love to hear from you if have - please drop us a line!

Thank you for popping by today,

Friday, 29 January 2016

The Friday Review - Steven Smith Teamaker

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - it's Friday (again) and that means we're back with another tea. This time we have a really special treat for you as we are featuring a tea from America!

Some of you may remember the lovely Valarie from Portland who I met last summer when she visited the UK and we enjoyed a spot of afternoon tea at The Goring. Well, at Christmas Valarie sent me a rather lovely package which included some tea and some hot chocolate.

So today we are going to share with you two teas from Steven Smith Teamaker  - Brahmin and Bungalow, both are black teas which Lorna and I enjoyed without milk.

Steven Smith Teamakers have been involved in tea since 1949, and today we import their teas and botanicals directly from farmers at origin. Some of the farmers have been working with Steven Smith Teamakers for over 15 years. They blend their tea in small batches and package it in oversized sachets....

Lorna opted to try the Brahmin tea, which is blend of full-bodied Indian Assam teas paired with Ceylon teas. It's described as a Breakfast Tea.

The liquor was rich in colour, a lovely amber colour. Lorna enjoyed the taste, but when I tried it I found it very light and not exactly what I would call a breakfast blend. It was nice and perfect for anyone who prefers a really light flavour to their tea.

My tea was the Bungalow tea, which is a blend of first and second flush organic Darjeeling teas - the flavour is described by Steven Smith Teamakers as light but complex.

Again, this tea had a wonderful amber colour - but I found that it lacked flavour. It was pleasant enough and could be enjoyed in the afternoon as a light afternoon tea, but wouldn't be great for anyone who enjoys a robust cup of tea.

It's great to try teas from another country and we'd like to thank Valarie for sending us this tea! If you'd like to find out more about Steven Smith Teamakers, pop by their website.

I know we get lots of visitors from outside the UK - if anyone has a favourite tea they'd like to share with us please drop us a line!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Time for Tea....Daisy May's Tea Room, Taunton

Daisy May's Tea Room - Taunton

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're feeling tea-riffic today.

This week I visited Taunton for work and found myself with a little spare time at lunchtime.....so I did what every afternoon tea lover does...and Goggled "tea rooms in Taunton" (that is what we all do isn't it??). I had several options to pick from, but I happened to find Daisy May's Tea Room first.

The exterior of the tea room was very cute and appealing, with lots of chairs outside for the warmer weather. Inside was just as cute with lots of wooden furniture and china. On offer at Daisy May's is a variety of  hot and cold dishes, served between 10am-4pm each day. I visited on a Wednesday lunchtime and it was very busy!

I didn't have a huge amount of time and so couldn't try the full afternoon tea experience, but I was pleased to see a cream tea option and so ordered that.

The cream tea consisted of a pot of loose leaf tea (picked from their tea menu), along with a scone, clotted cream and jam. The tea stocked at Daisy May's is Jenier Tea and there is a good selection on offer. I opted for the Lover's Leap which is a ceylon tea, medium body and full of flavour. Perfect for a chilly January lunchtime!

The staff were all friendly and despite being busy in the tearoom, the service was very quick.

When my cream tea was brought to me I have to say I was a little disappointed....some might call me greedy....or maybe spoilt by the sheer amount of scones I have consumed....but this one seemed rather....well....small....

Cream Tea - Daisy May's Tea Room, Taunton

Everything was served on pretty china and the tea was loose leaf. But the scone had something very "shop bought" about it - it definitely didn't look homemade. The servings of clotted cream and jam were adequate - although the strawberry jam was a little disappointing in flavour.

The scone itself hadn't risen much and was very small - I could have easily eaten two of them!

Afternoon tea scone - Daisy May's Tea Room, Taunton

This cream tea cost £4.95, which although not hugely expensive didn't really offer value for money as the scone was so small and the jam not the best quality. The tea however was loose leaf and there were two cups in the pot and the service was efficient and friendly.

 A nice cup of tea at Daisy May's Tea Room, Taunton

The cakes on offer looked very nice and there are lots of good reviews on the Daisy May's Facebook page, but I'm not sure I would return for their full afternoon tea experience. For more information about Daisy May's please visit their website.

Have you enjoyed a spot of tea and cake at Daisy May's Tea Room - we'd love to hear about your experience, please leave us a comment!

Thank you for popping by today.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Time For......a sweet hot dog??

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you are well today!

So, I'm pretty sure that most people who visit our afternoon tea blog has a bit of a sweet tooth, but I'm not sure how you're going to feel about our latest discovery.....the Daim Bar hot dog that will be available from K West Hotel & Spa in Shepherds Bush.

Yes, you read that correctly....a Daim Bar hot dog.....for those of you not sure what a Daim Bar is (they used to be called Dime Bars in the UK until 2005) it's basically a crunchy almond butter bar covered in milk chocolate.

K West has taken this humble chocolate bar and turned it into a hot dog shaped treat which is encased in a sweet brioche roll......

This hot dog even has it's own ketchup and mustard topping in the form of sweet mango and raspberry sauce!

If you fancy trying this really sweet treat it will be available at K West from 1st March, costing £5.50 each, or as part of the restaurant’s £22.50 Glam Rock Afternoon Tea. 

If you do enjoy one, we'd love to hear what you think about this sweet treat!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Baking with Typhoo Tea...part 1!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - I hope you are well today!

Typhoo Tea are currently celebrating the uniqueness of the great British cuppa by encouraging us all to share our #TyphooMoments. They know that we all enjoy our tea slightly differently.....for example in my household I rarely add milk and never sugar whereas Joe enjoys his cuppa sweet and milky!

As you probably already know I also love a piece of cake with my cuppa - there is nothing better in my humble opinion! So when Typhoo asked me to celebrate my passion of tea and cake by creating a cake recipe or two featuring tea I thought that was a fab idea!

In this post I will share my first recipe - something quite simple, but rather tasty! I decided to take the humble cupcake and add a good splosh of tea!

Typhoo Tea Cupcakes

As you can see for this recipe I used the Typhoo Gold blend - which is a rich, full-bodied tea.

To make 12 of these scrummy cakes you will need:

200ml boiling water
2 teabags
85 grams dried fruit
115 grams butter
115 grams brown sugar
2 eggs
115 grams self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

To start with make up a nice strong brew using the boiling water and teabags. I left the teabags in the water for quite a while, producing a dark liquor. I then removed the bags and added the fruit and left this sitting until the tea went cold. 

This is really important - do not be tempted (like me) to try and use the tea when it's still hot....this will ruin your cupcakes (a tough lesson when you want to eat cake!!).

Baking with Typhoo Tea

Next you need to make a normal cupcake batter - creaming the butter and sugar together first before beating the eggs in. Next fold the flour into the mixture and add the baking powder, making sure everything is combined well. 

Finally mix in the tea and all the fruit - this will leave you with quite a sloppy cake batter. Transfer the batter into twelve cupcake cases, filling three quarters of the way up the cases.

You then need to bake the cupcakes in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees) for 18 minutes.....and then I recommend letting them cool a little before devouring them!

Typhoo Tea cupcakes - Tea With Me and Friends

I didn't ice the finished cakes as I decided they didn't need any additional topping. Although a light lemon icing would probably be quite nice if you did want to ice the cakes to make them look a bit prettier.

The flavour at first is quite subtle, but develops into a lovely tea taste.....just like drinking a cup of tea! You also get a lovely burst of sweetness when you bite into a piece of the fruit.

Baking with Typhoo Tea - Tea Cupcakes

This is a really simple twist on a basic cupcake recipe, that anyone who enjoys a cup of tea will love. I'm now heading back into the kitchen with more Typhoo tea to try out another recipe - pop back soon to see what I come up with!

The tea used in this post was kindly donated by Typhoo Tea.

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Time for Tea....Forest Lodge Garden Centre, Farnham

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, last weekend I found myself wandering around a local garden centre with no plans (shocking I know). The garden centre is called Forest Lodge and as I walked through the various departments I spied the restaurant - it was one of those typical garden centre self-service affairs catering for breakfast, lunch and tea.

As I got closer I saw a stand near the front that grabbed my attention - on it was a huge pile of scones and a sign advertising a cream tea for one for just £2.99! The cream tea included a pot of tea, a giant scone, a pot of cream and a mini jar of jam. All this for £2.99 - I had to try for myself!

Cream Tea for One - Forest Lodge Garden Centre, Farnham

Just look at the size of that scone!

The teapot, although giant too, held just two cups of tea - so no need to worry about a caffeine overdose. In fact the two cups were just right to enjoy the scone with. You could pick your tea from a small tea menu - I went for a standard breakfast tea.

The servings of clotted and jam were also the right size and I was pleased to see that you could chose your jam from a selection of varieties - I opted for raspberry.

Roddas clotted cream and Wilkin & Sons jam 

I was a little concerned that the scone would either be dry or not quite baked properly in the middle due to it's size - however I was pleasantly surprised! The scone was well baked and rather scrummy!

In fact the whole cream tea was a real bargain for just £2.99 and I even managed to get a seat by the window so I was overlooking all the plants outside. The fact that you can chose your tea and jam means you can enjoy a personalised cream tea, which I think is fab!

Scones dressed the Tea With Me and Friends way - cream first!

If you happen to be in the Farnham area in Surrey I would highly recommend you pop by! For more information about the restaurant opening times pop by the Forest  Lodge website.

On my way back out I also noticed that they also offer a full afternoon tea - so I think I will be popping back soon for the full experience!

Have you enjoyed a scone in a garden centre - what was it like? We'd love to hear from you, why not leave us a comment below!

Thank you for popping by today,

Friday, 15 January 2016

The Friday Review......Tazo Tea on location!

Hello there,

Happy Friday! We hope you are well today!

So, this Friday Review is a little different because when Alex and I went to the cinema last weekend we found ourselves enjoying a cup of green tea! We'd been to the gym in the morning and were feeling a little sleepy....so instead of the usual popcorn or ice cream we opted for some tea. As you know we've featured "take away" tea previously, so as we were drinking I decided to grab my

Tea With Me and Friends enjoying
a cuppa while at the cinema!

Our cinema sells a certain well known coffee brand (Starbucks) within the foyer and in their product range are Tazo Teas. Tazo sources their teas, spices and botanicals from communities around the world and only buy unblended teas. 

I am always a little suspicious of green tea served at take away outlets as often it is made with boiling water which can leave the tea tasting a little bitter.....but I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a whirl......

Tazo China Green Tips Tea

The green tea on offer at our cinema is Tazo China Green Tips tea. 

Ignoring the awful cup (which is to be expected when out and about and enjoying a cup of tea) this was actually a great cup of green tea. The water wasn't too hot and the tea bag was left in the cup so we could brew it to our own taste.

Once brewed the liquor was a lovely pale green-yellow colour. This green tea is a light, refreshing tea which is easy to drink. I would definitely have a cup of tea at the cinema again - does that make me sound really old??

Oh and just in case you were wondering, on this cinema trip we saw "Joy" - which was a little bizarre, but also quite inspiring all at the same time!

Have you experienced a great.....or not so great....take away tea while on your travels? Why not let us know about it....leave us a comment below!

Thanks for popping by today,

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Something Beau-tea-ful....Cucumber Sandwiches Body Scrub from Cognito Spa

Hello there,

Welcome back to our little afternoon tea blog! As you know here at Tea With Me and Friends we are very serious about our afternoon tea adventures....and this week saw me take my cucumber sandwiches into the shower with me! Ok, there might not have been any bread or actual cucumber.....but this scrummy smelling body scrub definitely reminded me of all the cucumber sandwiches I've consumed!

Cognito is a Suffolk based business creating handmade skincare products, which are made in small batches to ensure freshness & effectiveness.

Recently Cognito got in touch with me to tell me about their scrummy SPAfternoon Tea range of products - all inspired by our favourite pass time! In the range you will find products which include "flavours"such as:

Cucumber Sandwiches
Lemon Drizzle
Victoria Sponge (Vanilla)
Eton Mess
Chocolate Orange Truffle
Prosecco & Strawberry (Lip Balm only)
Gin & Tonic (Lip Balm only)
Fruit Cup/Pimm's (Lip Balm only)
Peppermint Tea (Lip Balm only)

When they offered me the opportunity to try the cucumber sandwiches body scrub I couldn't resist!

Now let's start with that packaging.....it's so cute! I'm rather partial to anything covered in polka dots, so this is right up my street! The whole range is dotty and includes cute images of afternoon tea treats - it will look cute in anyone's bathroom!

I suppose you might be asking what cucumber sandwiches actually smell like - well this is a blend of  cucumber, apple and soft marine combined with floral notes of rose, white jasmine and waterlily on a base of cedar and vanilla. It's sweet and light and really reminds me of cucumber, but in a good way! It's really refreshing and lingers on your skin after you have used the scrub.

The scrub itself is a blend of Sugar & fine Sea Salt; Rice Bran, Apricot Kernel & Sunflower Oils and Shea Butter & Coconut Oil. It's quite a robust scrub, which I didn't need to use much of. 

According to the website it's the Shea & Coconut Butter that sets this scrub in a semi solid state - which means it isn't sloppy and is very easy to use in the shower because it doesn't go everywhere.

It really did leave my skin feeling soft and smooth after use and as mentioned above the aroma lingered on my skin long after I had finished my shower.

To find out more about this body scrub or the other products in the range (there are bath & body oils, masks, hand balms and lip balms to pick from!) pop by the Cognito website.

We'd like to thank Cognito for getting in touch and sending us this fab product. But please remember that this gift has not effected our senses and all opinions expressed in this article are our own.

Have you tried any of the other SPAfternoon Tea range? We'd love to hear what you thought...leave us a comment below!

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Time for Tea.....The Georgian Tea Room at The Dome

Hello there afternoon tea lovers!

We hope you are well today and are having a tea-riffic day!

Today we have a guest post for you, as the lovely Claire recently visited The Georgian Tea Room at The Dome on her recent visit to Edinburgh. Claire tagged me in her scrummy photo on Facebook as she was enjoying tea and I told her we needed to see more!

The Georgina Tea Room offers guests relaxed luxury with its plush decor, crystal chandeliers, crisp white linen, black and gold wall panelling and cushioned ebony chairs and their afternoon tea offering is overseen by Head Chef Sue Snider.

Afternoon tea - The Georgian Tea Room - The Dome

The champagne afternoon tea at The Dome begins with a glass of bubbles (a favourite way of ours to start any afternoon tea adventure!). You'll note from the photo below that Claire visited The Dome during Christmas....as well as a beautiful Christmas tree the table was dressed with pretty decorations.

Some bubbles at The Dome

Once guests have enjoyed their and picked their tea from the tea from the following selection

Breakfast tea
East African green tea
Earl Grey blue flower
Red berry
Whole peppermint

the afternoon tea stand is brought to the table.....

Afternoon tea stand - The Dome, Edinburgh

The sandwich selection is very traditional, including Egg Mayonnaise and Mustard Cress, Wafer Thin Ham and Coarse Grain Mustard and Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Cucumber.

These are followed by fruit and plain scones, served with cream and jam.

Finally there is a selection of cakes....

Claire told me her cake selection included fondant fancies, chocolate mousse, lemon cake and date cake - everything was very scrummy! Claire isn't well trained in the art of eating afternoon tea and didn't manage to eat all her goodies....but she did take them away with her to enjoy later.

Claire commented on the excellent, attentive service and the gorgeous setting - she would highly recommend this afternoon tea if you are in Edinburgh.

The Dome, Edinburgh

The Georgina Tea Room is open daily between 11am - 5:45pm and the champagne afternoon tea is £23.50 per person or you can enjoy the tea experience without bubbles for just £16.50 per person. For more information about this afternoon tea please visit The Dome's website.

We'd like to thank Claire for sharing her afternoon tea adventure with us - if you've enjoyed some tea and scrummy cake recently and would like to feature on the blog we'd love to hear from you too!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Friday Review....Silver Needle tea from Ahmad Tea

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends.

It's Friday....and since the crazy festive season has finished normal service has returned and we're back with a Friday tea review! Last year we were sent several teas from the Ahmad Tea range to try.....

Just look at all those teas! 

Ahmad Tea is a UK-based family tea business, drawing on four generations of tea blending and tasting experience. Since Ahmad Tea kindly sent us so many teas, we decided to spread our reviews over several different posts (to prevent tea fatigue - if there is such a thing!).

So let's start our tea adventures with the Silver Needle tea in the beautiful caddy....

A silver needle tea is a delicate, fresh tasting Chinese tea made of soft, plump young 'needles', or immature leaf buds, covered in tiny silvery hairs. As this tea is very light and mellow it makes it particularly enjoyable to drink in the afternoon.

To brew this tea use 1-2 tsp per 200ml cup using water temperature around 80°C. Infuse the tea for just 2-3 mins - this will leave you with a really pale yellow liquor, a little reminiscent of a glass of champagne (without the bubbles)! 

Enjoy without milk or sugar.

The flavour of the tea is light and delicate, with the smallest hint of nuttiness about it. It's a very refreshing cup of tea, perfect to enjoy with a slice of cake or something sweet.

We're looking forward to trying the other teas that Ahmad Tea sent us - in the meantime if you'd like to find out more about the Ahmad Tea range pop by their website.

We'd like to thank Ahmad Tea for sending us this lovely selection of teas, but please remember that this kind gesture has not affected our taste buds and all opinions expressed her are our own.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna