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

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Six Tips for Valentine’s Day Cocktails from Bohemia Bar

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we're talking cocktail making!

If you’re contemplating spending Valentine’s Day at home this year, why not romance your other half with some spectacular cocktails......or maybe you want to enjoy a scrummy cocktail or two at home with your friends? Whatever your reason, the mixologists at Bohemia Restaurant and Bar in Jersey have lent us their top tips for creating home-made cocktails!

Whichever cocktail you chose to create, learn from the professionals with these six top tips:

1. Glasses Galore
If you’re out to impress (friends or lovers!), it’s worth investing in good quality glasses to add a touch of class and elegance to your home-made beverage. If you opt for a stemmed glass, you could also tie a pretty ribbon or flower stem around the base. 

2. Shaken vs Stirred
As a general rule, any drink that contains only alcohol should be stirred, while any drink which contains a mixer should be shaken. 

3. Ice Ice Baby
A little-known tip is to boil water before pouring it into your ice-tray as these means no bubbles will form whilst your ice cubes freeze.

4. Sweet and Sour
The perfect formula for achieving the sweet and sour balance is 2:1:1. That's two parts alcohol, one part sour, and one part sweet. Use sour ingredients such as lemon or lime juice; and a sweet ingredient, such as simple syrup or triple sec. 

5. Make a big batch 
If your guest is a fan of straight-spirit cocktails, why not create a batch of your drink ahead of time. You can then chill this in the fridge in an empty wine bottle and pour individual drinks when you’re ready.

6. Garnish
A garnish is more than just pretty decoration— it's often what brings the whole drink together and is worth doing well! It’s the first part of the drink that our customers judge so we put a great deal thought into this part of the cocktail process. Green garnishes look wonderful with clear drinks, and can even be added to ice for an extra wow-factor.  

I don't know about you, but I don't need any excuse to buy new glassware! I'll definitely be putting these tips into practise....who is joining us for a cocktail??

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Friday, 27 January 2017

Afternoon Tea News - Looking for a tea-riffic Valentines Gift??

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends.

Today we are sharing with you a tea-riffic Valentines gift idea.....perfect for the tea lover in your life (or maybe just for you!). The lovely folk at Piacha have put together the sweetest tea gift, perfect for your tea-addict Valentines!

Inside this box you will find eight different Piacha teas (yes eight varieties - told you it was perfect for the tea-obsessed individual in your life!), each stored in a cute little heart shaped tin....

Tea Gift from Piacha

How sweet are those tins?

The tea selection includes some of Piacha's most popular blends -  English Breakfast, Earl Grey Vanilla, Moroccan Mint, Ginger Chilli, Chamomile Citrus,  Rooibos Choc Cinnamon, Rooibos Rhubarb Fudge and my personal favourite Apple Green Tea.

Each tin contains enough tea for between 5 - 10 cups.

I know I would definitely love to receive this little black box this Valentine's Day (hint, hint Joe if you are reading!). For more information about this gift pop by the Piacha website.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Time to be a...... teatourist!

Hello there tea lovers,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we're sharing with you a tea subscription service that we have discovered recently.

Teatourist deliver surprise selections of loose leaf teas from artisan tea companies, all supplied in taster-sized portions. Sounds perfect for someone looking for a tea adventure!

Teatourist work with 100s of tea companies to bring subscribers a different selection of teas each month. The sample selection are delivered in a box that fits through letter boxes.....so no waiting in for the postman!

Inside the box you'll discover six different samples, each from a different company. Each sample has enough tea for three - four cups of tea and comes with brewing instructions.

Let's take a look in the January box....

This box features some companies I know and some that I haven't discovered before, which is really exciting! This box includes:

Matcha green tea from Teaologists
Rooibos earl grey from Tea Leaf London
Recover tea from Blendology
Reggae refresh from Born Wild Tea
Pure Ceyon from Exclusivitea
Gunpowder Tea from Morgan's Brew Tea Company

Something for everyone I think you'll agree!

I love the little pouches that the samples come in - they are clear so you can see the tea leaves and resealable to keep your leaves fresh.

The pouches are attached to a tea card which includes brewing information on one side. The card tells you how much to use, how long to brew for and how hot the water should be. It also includes guidance on whether you need to add milk etc.

Finally there is a tea profile on the card and a place where you can rate your tea experience!

On the other side of the tea card is a fuller description of the tea and information about the tea company who have provided the tea - great if you love the tea and want to buy more!

This tea subscription is a rolling monthly membership, you can start and stop your subscription as you please. Each box costs £14.95 and they are delivered around the 20th of each month.

I love the fact that the pouches provide 3-4 cups of tea - this gives you enough tea to really try it out and maybe share a cup with a friend, but doesn't leave you with lots of wasted tea if you don't like a particular blend.

Even my cat Tinker enjoyed exploring the teas.....

I'd like to thank Teatourist for sending me their January box to try! If you'd like to find out more about their subscription pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Time for Tea.....Covent Garden Hotel, London

Hello there,

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

Last weekend our lovely friend Sheree was celebrating and her birthday......and what better way to celebrate than a spot of tea. Sheree and her friends enjoyed an afternoon tea adventure at the Covent Garden Hotel in London, which is a Firmdale Hotel.

Let's hear all about Sheree's experience......

Afternoon tea - Covent Garden Hotel

Three of us went to tea which is served in the hotel's Brasserie Max Restaurant. This  offers a range of afternoon teas from 'traditional' to 'gentleman's'. The occasion was a double birthday celebration and the choice of menus was important as one of us is on a gluten free and vegetarian diet, so it was helpful to be able to see the gluten free menu beforehand. 

We each chose a different menu - traditional, Covent Garden and gluten free afternoon tea. 

Afternoon Tea Sandwiches - Covent Garden Hotel

Sandwich variety was good and dietary preferences dealt with well, although the gluten free bread was a little dry. Cakes and sweet treats were a good mix of light and fruity to chocolatey, whilst the scones were a good size, fresh and tasty. We were offered more sandwiches and scones, but even I declined as I'd eaten all of my cakes, which is a first as I sometimes prefer savoury food - this says a lot about the range of cakes being just right for me!

In fact our cake stands were left practically empty, which is the sign of a good tea! 

Afternoon tea - Covent Garden Hotel

Gluten Free Afternoon Tea - Covent Garden Hotel

The restaurant itself was very relaxed and comfortable. We were there nattering for over 3 hours and didn't feel rushed to leave. To help my friend and I celebrate our birthdays we were each presented with an extra cake with a candle matching the colour of our tops! Nice touch!

I'd definitely go back to try another tea, or maybe to have the same one again!

Well it looks like Sheree and her friends had a tea-riffic afternoon tea adventure! To find out more about the Covent Garden Hotel pop by their website.

We'd like to thank Sheree for sharing her experience with us - if you enjoy an afternoon tea don't forget to send us a photo....we love to see what treats you've been experiencing!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Afternoon Tea News - Valentines Afternoon Tea at Lancaster London

Hello there,

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

With February just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about all things heart shaped....yes Valentine's Day is nearly upon us. It's a time when pastry chef's across the country can get creative with shades of pink and red heart shaped cakes and scones and romantic sandwich fillings! Over the coming week's we'll be sharing with you some of the Valentine themed afternoon teas you could be enjoying this year.

Let's start with a Tea With Me and Friends favourite......Lancaster London, who have created the HeART Afternoon Tea:

The hotel has reinvented its much-loved ARTea Afternoon Tea to offer an exclusive Valentines edition of the tasty treats. 

Settle into the comfortable armchairs of the hotel’s Lounge Bar and enjoy a romantic afternoon. The afternoon tea will be delivered to tables sealed in a charming case with an array of sweet and savoury treats including oysters with salmon caviar, adorable heart-shaped white chocolate and strawberry macaroons, and Love You honey ├ęclairs. 

What’s more, the hotel will be offering a surprise gift for diners to take home. 

We think this afternoon tea looks and sounds scrummy! Another tea-riffic creation from Chef Ben and his tea.

The HeART Afternoon Tea will be available from 8-14 February 2017, from £40 per person. To read more about this afternoon tea, pop by the Lancaster London website.

Pop back over the next couple of weeks to see what other Valentine themed afternoon teas we can find for you.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Time for........a Cream Tea in the Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa, Chester

Hello there,

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

This week I spent at night at the Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa in Chester as part of a work event. I arrived at the hotel late afternoon and decided to indulge in a scone as I caught up on some work emails so I headed to Ciro’s Brasserie.

Ciro's Brasserie is a Mediterranean style restaurant, which serves food throughout the day. The Mediterranean style extends to the decor and feel, think lots of warm tones and stonework....

Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa

As well as the full afternoon tea I was pleased to see a cream tea on offer, as well as a good tea selection. I plumped for the cream tea, which cost £7.95 for a pot of tea and tea scones. After a confusing start which saw me with a cup of green tea instead of a cream tea I was very pleased when everything was served.....

Cream tea - Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa

The scones were huge! This probably could serve two people, although you would need more tea. You also got a serving of clotted cream and a great selection of jams and preserves....

As well as traditional strawberry jam you also had raspberry and blackcurrant varieties, plus honey and marmalade - really something for everyone there.

And just how cute is that carousel?!

The scones were both fruit ones and were served warm.

Cream Tea - Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa

The texture and flavour of the scones were good - no clagginess to report here at all!

All in all this was a lovely afternoon treat and I would love to return to try out the full afternoon tea experience. It was late afternoon when I arrived and there weren't many other guests around, but the restaurant still felt warm and welcoming. The staff were all friendly and service was quick.

Cream Tea - Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa

Thank you for popping by today,

Monday, 9 January 2017

Scones, scones, scones everywhere!

Hello there Afternoon Tea Lovers!

I hope you're well today and had a lovely Christmas! Happy New Year too!

Wow - it's been a while! Sorry we've been missing since November! Technical issues and not enough hours in the day both contributed to us not sharing any tea posts.....to be honest we haven't had that many scones either - shocking I know!

Well all that is going to change.....in fact in the last three days I've managed to eat three scones to make up for things!

First off I enjoyed a scone at home....

So, this lovely scone is an all butter and sultana scone from Tescos.....it's one of their posh scones (Finest range), sold in packs of 4 for £1.50. 

I was impressed by the rise of the scone.....

I was a little sad that no delicious scone aroma hit me as I opened the packaging and wondered whether my first scone of 2017 should have been a shop bought one. However, when I cut into the scone I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of sultanas I could see (this is not the best photo of the sultanas....there were lots honest!)....

I topped my scone with clotted cream from Langage Farm (bought at Tescos in Aldershot), made with Jersey and Guernsey milk.

I haven't come across this clotted cream in the shops before and enjoyed the creamy texture. I'd definitely buy it again.

Finally I topped my scone with greengage preserve from Tescos, which was sweet and tangy. I love greengages in the summer (you can usually only get them for a short time in August), the preserve wasn't quite the same but I enjoyed it just the same!

All in all this was a tea-riffic start to 2017!

Obviously this scone reminded me how much I love cream teas.....and so the next day I headed off to Marks & Spencers in Camberley with the lovely Alex and enjoyed another scone! 

This was another good sized scone, again full of sultanas. I enjoyed this scone with clotted cream and a summer berry jam from M&S.....all washed down with a pot of tea! Lovely!

Finally, today I decided I might as well eat another of the Tesco scones I had at home before they went stale! This time I had two different toppings....

That's a wonderful pineapple preserve on one half and a passion fruit curd on the other half.....I was clearly in a tropical mood today! Again, I washed my scone down with tea....some wonderful Lady Grey from Twinnings.

And now I'm off to the gym to try and work off some of those calories! Ha, ha!

We're looking forward to sharing lots more tea, cake and scones with you in 2017 and we look forward to seeing what afternoon tea adventures you have been on! 

Thank you for popping by today,