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

Friday, 30 September 2016

London Cocktail Week - Cobalt Grapefruit Margarita, K West

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we're back today with another cocktail to celebrate London Cocktail Week!

With award-winning bars and trendy hotels throwing open their doors to show off their most impressive tipples, Rock ‘n’ roll hotel K West has joined in the fiesta with its new Margarita, created especially for the week-long cocktail carnival.  

The brand new concoction, Cobalt Grapefruit Margarita, consists of Pisco, triple sec, blue cura├žao, lemon juice and pink grapefruit juice. The drink is finished with a garnish of a white and red salt rim and a pink grapefruit wedge. 

The Cobalt Grapefruit Margaritas are available for £11.95 each.

The cocktail can be enjoyed in the hotel’s stylish Studio Bar area whilst listening to the in-house DJ on Fridays and Saturdays. Alternatively, head to Studio Kitchen on the mezzanine floor which boasts an urban New York vibe.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Thursday, 29 September 2016

London Cocktail Week - Tennessee Honey Tea, Lancaster London

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends! We hope you're having a sweet day!

With London Cocktail Week stirring up a storm in the capital from 3 to 9 October 2016, Lancaster London has created an exclusive honey-infused cocktail to celebrate the occasion. 

The brand new concoction, Tennessee Honey Tea, features a mouth-watering fusion of Jack Daniel’s Honey, homemade cinnamon schnapps, unsweetened tea, Triple Sec and ginger beer. Lancaster London has taken advantage of its very own rooftop bees to create the homemade schnapps for the brand new cocktail.

Tennessee Honey Tea - Lancaster London - London Cocktail Week 2016

The Tennessee Honey Teas are available for £9.50 each.

The cocktail can be enjoyed in the hotel’s ground floor restaurant, Island Grill or the hotel’s first floor Lounge Bar.  

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Let's Celebrate Cocktail Week.....with a coffee or two!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends! Did you know that International Coffee Day is this week? Neither did we! It's no secret that Lorna and I are partial to the odd cup of coffee as well as the gallons of tea we enjoy....we also love a cocktail or two. Today's post combines two of our favourite beverages....

In honour of Cocktail Week and International Coffee Day on 1st October, the bars within Jason Atherton’s The Social Company are teaming up with Mr Black to create a range of cocktails featuring the Australian distillery’s coffee liqueur to be available from 26th September until 1st October.

Cold-extracted at 23 degrees, Mr Black’s coffee liqueur packs a punch of coffee flavour, providing the perfect base for a range of cocktails all displaying The Social Company’s signature playful and creative cocktails.

The Geisha at 7 Tales

Located downstairs at Japanese restaurant, Sosharu, downtown Tokyo inspired bar, 7 Tales, will be offering a particularly exclusive cocktail to mark International Coffee Week. The jewel in the crown of Mr Black’s collection, the Panama Geisha is a prize winning and limited edition coffee liqueur, with only 289 bottles available worldwide. With the Geisha an iconic character within Japanese culture, the coffee liqueur is a natural fit for 7 Tales’ Japanese-inspired menu and will be blended with 1999 Nikka coffey grain from the bar’s extensive collection of whiskies. Served in an elegant coupette glass and garnished with a stencil of the quintessential Japanese cultural figure, ‘The Geisha’ features a banana, apricot and sesame foam to create a subtle tropical flavour that pairs perfectly with the coffee liqueur and the 1999 Nikka coffey grain, presenting a modern interpretation of an espresso martini. Priced at £50 per glass, reflecting the exclusive nature of the ingredients used, ‘The Geisha’ will be London’s most luxurious tribute to this year’s International Coffee Day.

Hard Wired Cherry Cola at The Blind Pig

In celebration of International Coffee Day, guests at Jason Atherton’s speakeasy-style bar, The Blind Pig, can enjoy the specially created Hard Wired Cherry Cola. With a blend of Mr Black coffee liqueur, Cherry Heering, a cherry flavoured-brandy, a dash of Fernet Branca digestif and a topping of cherry cola, and finished with a cherry and lemon twist garnish, the cocktail offers guests a grown up interpretation of the classic childhood fizzy drink.

Coff’ Medicine at Pollen Street Social

This International Coffee Day, the bar at Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social will be serving Coff’ Medicine, created by Group Bar Executive, Jamie Jones. Using Mr Black coffee liqueur as the base, Coff’ Medicine is a heady mix of mescal, Campari and chilli and chocolate bitters, to complement the coffee undertones. Garnished with an orange twist and prescription garnish, Coff’ Medicine is just what the doctor ordered.

Black to the Future at City Social

To celebrate this year’s Coffee Day, guests at the bar at Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred City Social can enjoy Black to the Future. A futuristic take on an espresso martini, instead of coffee, the bar team will be blending Mr Black coffee liqueur with Aylesbury Duck vodka and dash of soy sauce to create a cocktail more akin to a dirty vodka martini. In a nod to the cocktail’s movie namesake, Black to the Future will also be garnished with an OUTATIME number plate, for a cocktail that plays with visuals as well as flavours.

I don't know about you, but I love the sound of the Hard Wired Cherry Cola!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

It's nearly London Cocktail Week!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!

Today we're taking a little look at London Cocktail Week - well you know us, we love a great cocktail as well as a piece of cake! London Cocktail Week is the biggest, most vibrant celebration of our capital’s fantastic cocktail scene. Now in it's seventh year, London Cocktail Week takes place from  3 - 9 October 2016. 
If you take a look at their website, you'll see that there is plenty going on in London to celebrate! From masterclasses, tutored tastings and supper clubs to meet the maker evenings, parties and pop-ups- something for every cocktail lover out there!

As well as individual events at different locations there will also be a village of pop-up cocktail bars, experiences and food vendors Old Spitalfields Market. The village is holding different sessions throughout the week, which you need a pass to enter. For more details pop by the website.

In addition to all this, various London Cocktail Week partners are offering all kinds of cocktail offers throughout the week! Partners have put together special cocktails and Sip and Snack offers including:

MEATliquor W1
SIP : Irish Latte Shake - Kahlua coffee liqueur & Jameson Irish whiskey milkshake
SNACK : Monkey Fingers - Battered fillets of marinated chicken breast slathered in house made hot pepper sauce, with blue cheese dip.

£6.50 - Offer available during all usual opening hours.

STK at ME London Hotel
SIP : STK London's Bourbon - Bulleit bourbon, Martini Bianco vermouth, melon syrup, agave syrup and Peyhaud’s bitters.
SNACK : The BRG - Wagyu beef with special sauce and a sesame seed bun.

£8.50 - Offer available Mon-Sat 5pm-11pm, Sun 5pm-9pm.

Dishroom Carnaby
SIP : East India Gimlet - Portobello Road gin, Rose’s lime cordial and celery bitters.
SNACK : Okra Fries - Fine lady's fingers for the fingers.

£10 - Offer available Mon- Fri Midday-6pm.

These are just some of the fab offers avaliable during London Cocktail Week - for more pop by their website! Over the next couple of days we're also going to be sharing with you some of the fab cocktails that have been created especially for London Cocktail Week - so watch this space!

If you enjoy a cocktail during London Cocktail Week 2016 we'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Sunday Scone Review - M&S Devon Scones

Hello there,

Happy Sunday! Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends and our regular scone review blog post!

This week we've been sampling scones from the M&S range.....

Devon scones from M&S

These scones are enriched with buttermilk and clotted cream- the packaging even states "just add jam".....but me being me....well I didn't see that instruction and bought myself some M&S clotted cream too!

Let's talk about the cream first, which is Cornish Clotted Cream. It's quite unusual to find own brand clotted cream in supermarkets, so I was intrigued to try this one out. To be honest I was a little disappointed as this cream had the consistency of butter and was really hard to spread. 

The scones were also slightly disappointing in appearance, as they looked rather flat.

At this stage I still hadn't seen the "just add jam" notice and ploughed ahead with a layer of clotted cream and a dollop of strawberry jam on top....

Devon scones from M&S

The scones held the cream and jam well, but the flavour was also disappointing - they really tasted mass produced. Even worse than this.....the scones were claggy in texture.

It was at this point that I saw the "just add jam" bit on the side of the packaging....so I decided to try the scones this way....layering jam onto the scone minus the cream (which felt very odd indeed!).

Devon scones from M&S

This time the scone was a bit easier to eat, being slightly less claggy in texture. But I was still not particularly impressed with these scones.

I can't remember exactly how much I paid for these, I think it was about £1.50 for four scones (there is a red sticker on the packet offering me two bakery products for £2.50). This makes them the same price as the other "posh" scones we have tried so far - but they are definitely not my favourite. In fact I think I'll give these scones 1 star out of 5 (because they held the toppings well).

I also noted these scones didn't last so well at home.

Pop back next week to see which other scones we've tried at home!

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Time for.....a little cake!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!

Sometimes you just need a little bit of cake....isn't that right? Well last weekend Lorna and I had that exact feeling. We were in London for the day and didn't need the full afternoon tea experience, but fancied something a little sweet. When we spotted a Paul Bakery we decided to pop in for a sweet treat!

If you've not heard of Paul before, you are in for a treat. They are a family business, which started in France five generations ago. They are now 127 years old and have bakeries in 33 countries around the world. They are passionate about bread - baking high quality, hand-crafted breads everyday. Luckily for us they are also rather good at patisserie, cakes and flans! A Paul Bakery counter will always leaving you spoilt for choice and drooling a little!

On this occasion we opted for a Praline Eclair - Eclair Paris Brest and a Delice Framboise Slice (or a raspberry slice to you and me!)....

Patisserie from Paul Bakery

The eclair is made of light choux pastry with toasted flaked almonds, filled with praline cream and topped with caramelised hazelnuts.

While the raspberry slice has two layers of Genoese sponge and raspberry mousse and a layer of raspberry jelly, finished with a raspberry glaze and fresh raspberries.

And as you can see....they are big enough to cut in two and share....

Big enough to share - Patisserie from Paul Bakery

At £3.55 each these are a treat, but they were fresh, the flavours were great and they were a good size. The eclair was sweet and crunchy, but the pastry was so light, while the slice was the perfect mix of sweet and tart and again was incredibly light. 

What's your favourite Paul cake or pastry? We'd love to hear from you!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Afternoon Tea News - Mum to Be Afternoon Tea at The Arch

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, we hope you're having a tea-riffic day!

Today we are sharing with you some afternoon tea news from The Arch in London, who are currently running a very special afternoon tea for Mums to be and there baby shower guests!

Mum to Be afternoon tea - The Arch, London

The Arch London has devised a baby shower afternoon tea served on a delightful multi pastel coloured Wedgwood fine bone china tea set.  The perfect treat for a mummy to be to celebrate the impending arrival!

The baby shower afternoon tea features classic savoury delights including Honey baked ham and piccalilli, Stilton cheese straws and Coronation chicken.  For those with a sweet tooth, the afternoon tea will include Vanilla cupcakes, handmade marshmallows, Jammy dodgers and Chocolate orange tea cakes.

Afternoon tea cupcakes at The Arch, London

Afternoon tea is priced at £25 per person or £38 with a glass of Tattinger Brut Reserve, and can be enjoyed in the hotel’s stunning Martini Library, stylish Hunter 486 restaurant or chic Salon de Champagne lounge. 

Isn't that a cute afternoon tea?

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 19 September 2016

It's London Fashion Week - lets celebrate with a cocktail!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends! Today we have a cocktail post....well sometimes a girl just needs a good cocktail!

The ultimate fashion parade comes to London this September.  With events, shows and the perfect backdrop for people-watching, London Fashion Week showcases the very best of established and emerging design talent.

To celebrate the occasion, Corinthia Hotel London welcomes guests to sashay down the catwalk to the Bassoon and enjoy a special cocktail or two!

The barmen at Bassoon have created a special selection of limited-edition cocktails to enjoy during London Fashion Week, featuring a choice of rum, vodka, gin and whisky-based tipples, each aptly named for discerning fashionistas to savour.


Carmen Miranda
Bacardi Gold Rum, Angostura Bitters, Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice, Pimento, Grenadine and a drop of Lavender

Power Dressing
Grey Goose Vodka, St Germain Liqueur, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup and Pomegranate Seeds

In the Frow
Sloe Gin, St Germain Liqueur and Lemon Juice topped with Champagne

Smoking Jacket
Woodford Reserve Whiskey, Galliano and Old Fashioned Syrup

Glad Rags
Tanqueray Gin, St Germain Liqueur, Elderflower Cordial, Lime Juice and Jasmine Tea

The cocktails cost £16 each​ and look pretty special!

If you try one of these fab cocktails be sure to send us a photo!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Sunday Scone Review - Taste the Difference Farmhouse Cheese Scones

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're having a lovely day!

Today we have something a little different for you.....as there is no cream or jam in sight today! No....today we're going down the savoury route with some cheese scones from the Taste the Difference range in Sainsbury's! Now, we don't usually go for savoury scones, but in the interest of research we thought it would be good to give some a try!

Taste the Difference Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Scones

Instead of reaching for the usual cream and jam, I opted for some red onion chutney and cheddar cheese to top from scone. I also thought a couple of homegrown tomatoes would go well with this lunchtime treat!

When I took the scones from the packet I was impressed by the smell of cheese that followed them out - they had a great aroma which made my mouth water! They felt a tiny bit greasy to touch on the top and I was worried this would have an impact on the texture. However, when I cut one in half I was pleased to find they were light and not at all greasy.

I dressed my scone by first topping it with some of the chutney and then adding slices of the cheese on top.......the scone held the topping well....

Taste the Difference Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Scones

To be honest, although the scones smelt amazing, the cheese flavour was slightly overwhelmed by my toppings. The texture was good though, not overly greasy and they were light.

Overall, this made a pleasant change to the usual sweet scones we enjoy. Although I would have liked them to taste slightly more of the cheese. 

These scones cost £1.50 for four good sized scones. One thing I would note is that they didn't last very well at home - you definitely need to eat them within a day or two of opening the packet.

I would give these scones 3 out of 5 stars.

Do you enjoy savoury scones? Do you have a a favourite brand and what is your favourite topping? We'd love to hear from you!

Thank you for popping by today,

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Sunday Scone Review - Taste the Difference Sultana Scones

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends and our second scone review. This week we've sampled some scones from the Taste the Difference range from Sainsburys.

Taste the Difference All Butter Sultana Scones

These can be bought for £1.50 for four sultana and butter scones.

On first inspection, these scones are slimmer than the Waitrose scones we tried last week, but we were impressed with the sultana distribution....

So far so good!

The scones sliced well and had a scrummy aroma - sweet and fruity.

I decided to dress my scone with clotted cream and raspberry and violet jam from Louise's Larder.....

The scone had a nice flavour and held the cream and jam well without crumbling. I would venture to say the texture was a little claggy, which was surprising because the scone was slimmer than others we've tried.

Joe taste tested this one with me and commented that he preferred the Waitrose scone last week, as he felt it had a better texture. 

The Sunday Scone Review - cream first

We've decided to give this scone a score of 3 out of 5 stars.

If you have a recommendation for the Sunday Scone Review please get in touch!

Thank you for popping by today - pop back next Sunday to see which scone we're trying next!

Rachel & Joe

Friday, 9 September 2016

Time for....a scrummy biscuit recipe!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we have a slightly different Friday blog post for you...we have a new recipe to share with you!

This week I hosted the first papercraft sub group for the local WI where I am Vice President. We set up Bake, Natter and Roll (Farnham WI) at the beginning of the year and we currently have 80 members. Being a crafty individual, I was happy to host the group when it was suggested.....but of course I felt as well as a craft I needed some baked goodies to offer the lovely ladies.

I got my timings slightly wrong on the day on the meeting (getting stuck in the office longer than I had planned) and so didn't really have time for any elaborate baking....so I decided biscuits were the answer....

Oaty chcolate chip cookies from Tea With Me and Friends!

I found a recipe I liked the sound of in one of the million baking books I own....and then in typical Rachel style I changed it!

These little delights are sweet and oaty, sightly chewy in the middle but also lovely and crunchy! Perfect with a cup of tea (or coffee) when you are crafting....or at any time really!

Even better....they are so simple to make!

To bake these you will need:

175g / 6oz - rolled oats (I used large rolled oats as they had been on offer in the local supermarket)
75 g / 3oz brown sugar
1 egg
60ml / 4tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
a handful of chocolate chips (because that's what I had in my cupboard!)

What to do....
  1. Preheat your oven to 190c / 375f
  2. In a bowl combine all the ingredients, making sure there are no lumps of sugar
  3. Spoon small heaps of the mixture onto prepared baking sheets - allowing a little room between each heap for spreading
  4. Press the heaps into small, flat circles (although you'll notice mine were more wonky shapes than circles!) with the back of a fork
  5. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, until golden brown
  6. When cooled slightly, transfer the cookies to a wire rack
  7. Enjoy!

You can use as many chocolate chips as you like - I think I would have preferred a few more in my cookies. The ladies of the papercraft group also commented that these would be good with a handful of peanuts thrown in as well.

These were so popular that between the papercraft ladies and Joe, there was only one cookie left the morning after they were baked! I can confirm that it tasted just as good the next day!

I hope you like this quick and simple recipe - if you give it a go at home I'd love to hear what you thought!

Thank you for popping by today,

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Sunday Scone Review - Waitrose, all butter sultana scones

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we're back with a new feature for you....The Sunday Scone Review!

We love going out for a spot of afternoon tea, but sometimes it's just as nice to stay at home and enjoy a scone or two. We don't always fancy baking fresh scones (shocking I know!), sometimes we buy scones from our local supermarket (even more shocking!). So in the interest of finding the best supermarket scone, we've decided to bring you the Sunday Scone Review.

To kick off the series we've tried the all butter sultana scones from Waitrose....

The Sunday Scone Review - Waitrose all butter sultana scones

These scones cost £1.60 for four well sized scones, which are described as "hand crafted"......

A good size....but what about the texture?
Waitrose all butter sultana scones

I opted to dress my scone with Roddas clotted cream and some homemade blackberry jam....

How many stars will the Waitrose all butter sultana scones be rewarded?

The scone cut well and didn't crumble,and the cream spread on it well. It made a good base for the cream and jam. I was a little disappointed with the texture, which I found a tiny bit claggy.

Saying that, at 40p a scone I think they are good value and generally I enjoyed the scone. My deputy scone taster, Joe (aka my long suffering boyfriend) also tried one of these scones.....he is a jam first man....but we won't dwell too much on that. He enjoyed the flavour, but also thought it was a bit claggy.

We've debated the scone score long and hard and we've decided to award Waitrose a 3.75 stars out of a possible 5 for this scone.

If you have a recommendation for the Sunday Scone Review please get in touch!

Thank you for popping by today - pop back next Sunday to see which scone we're trying next!

Rachel & Joe

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Time for Tea.....Gail's Artisan Bakery, Farnham

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends.

Last week I noticed a new bakery has opened in Farnham, on Castle Street. Gail's has bakeries across London, the first of which first opened in 2005 and its exciting to see one open just around the corner from home! Gail's are passionate about artisan bread, and also serve cakes, pastries, teas and coffees. 

On this occasion I had popped into Farnham on my lunch break and so I decided not to eat in, but take some treats home with me. As I stood in the queue, waiting to be served I had time to decide what I wanted to take home from the counter heaving with goodies! I opted for a pecan and maple scone and two little madeleines.

Sweet treats from Gail's Artisan Bakery 
 The service was quick and friendly and my goodies were well packaged for the journey home. This little lot cost me just under £4.

The scone was rustic looking, with a good maple glaze on top. It was a good size too. The madeleines were well risen and had a lovely lemony aroma.

Scone and madeleines from Gail's Artisan Bakery

As I cut into the scone I was impressed with the amount of pecans inside - no scrimping here...

The scone was already flavoured with pecans and maple, and so I decided to dress it just with clotted cream and I left the jam off this time. 

I really enjoyed the sweet and nutty flavour of this scone - the glaze on top was wonderful. The scone also had a good texture and held the cream well. A lovely afternoon treat!

The madeleines were light and lemony - perfect!

All in all this was a lovely treat and I can't wait to go back to Gail's to sample more of their treats! If you'd like to know more about Gail's, pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,