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

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The Tea Review - Jollybrew

Hello there,

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

Recently the lovely people at Jollybrew sent us some of their teas to sample.....so we put the kettle on, got our favourite teacups out and got our taste buds ready!

Greg is the brains behind the Jollybrew, after becoming a full time Dad whilst his wife Sarah returned to work, he wanted a business he could launch from home. After falling in love with loose leaf tea, he decided that tea would be that business, with the mission to introduce loose leaf tea to the world.

Jollybrew was launched in late 2014, with just 15 blends - today they have 50 to choose from! Jollybrew blends are created by their team of master tea blenders, but around 30% of flavours are blended by Greg's own fair hands!

Greg sent us three teas to try - Elegant Earl Grey, Rosie Lee and Proper Peppermint

Let's start with the Elegant Earl Grey blend, which is from Sri Lanka In The Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula And Uva Regions and contains Black Tea, Cornflower Petals and Natural Flavours. 

Jollybrew recommends that you use one teaspoon per cup for this blend, brewing the tea for 3-4 minutes.

I found this tea has a subtle aroma, but a punchy and rich bergamot favour. The tea is dark amber in colour and tastes very refreshing. 

The Rosie Lee blend is a black tea flavoured with rose buds. The tea is from Sri Lanka in the Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula and Uva regions, and the blend contains Black Tea, Blackberry Leaves, Rose Petals, Rosehip, Natural Flavours.

For this blend it is recommended that you use one teaspoon per cup and brew for 3-4 minutes for the perfect cuppa.

The aroma is very strong in this blend, the roses hit you as soon as you open the packet and they remain strong while the tea is brewing. The tea is a very pretty colour - a light amber, with an almost pinky hue. The flavour of the tea is very floral - I'm not a huge fan of rose tea, but if I was this would definitely hit the spot!

Finally we have the Proper Peppermint infusion. Jollybrew use peppermint leaves from the USA for their infusion and they recommend using 1-2 teaspoons per cup, depending on how strong you like your tea.

The tea has a strong, minty aroma, which is matched by an equally strong and  minty flavour. Its a minty tea that packs a punch!

Jollybrew teas can be bought online and start at a very reasonable £3.00 for a 25g sample pack. The range is extensive - there is something for every mood! You can buy the teas in loose leaf packs, and they offer 8 of their blends in tea bags. They also have a range of tea tools in their online shop - including some gorgeous cups and a tea timer. 

Jollybrew also offers tea lovers a subscription service, where from £9.99 a month you can have your favourite tea delivered to your door! 

For more information about Jollybrew pop by their website. 

I'd like to thank Greg for sending us these teas to try. Please remember that although we have received these teas for free, this has not affected our taste buds and all opinions expressed in this blog post are our own.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Time for Tea.....The Intercontinental at The O2

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!

We hope you're keeping well!

So, last weekend here in the UK it was Mother's Day and as some of you know, this blog exists from our family tradition of taking mum for a Mother's Day afternoon tea. One problem with last weekend though.....it also happened to be Country 2 Country - a three day country music festival that Lorna and I always attend. It's held at the O2 in London and there are music acts playing throughout the day and into the night.

We fixed our little problem though as we decided to stay at The Intercontinental hotel at the O2 this year.....and they offer an afternoon tea! So we dragged mum up to the O2 to listen to some country music with us and enjoy a spot of afternoon tea!

Intercontinental at the O2 serve their afternoon tea in the Meridian Lounge, overlooking the River Thames and Canary Wharf. We were given a corner table looking straight out onto the Thames, which was like a little oasis in the corner of the lounge....

The afternoon tea was a traditional affair, starting with a selection of finger sandwiches and savouries. The section included:

Honey roasted ham with wholegrain mustard mayonnaise on Pain de Mie
Mature cheddar cheese and pickle on carrot bread
Sliced cucumber and grated radishes with crème fraîche on beetroot bread
Smoked salmon with dill cream cheese on basil bread
Truffle egg mayonnaise on a brioche bun

It was a very pretty sandwich plate, with a variety of colours making it interesting to look at. There was also a variety of flavours to sample. I enjoyed the cucumber and radish more than I thought I would and I enjoyed the cheese and pickle sandwich. I wasn't really a fan of the egg mayonnaise on the brioche bun though, as the sweetness of the bun was rather overpowering.

The sandwiches were fresh and crustless....but take a look at the sizing....why is my ham sandwich so much shorter than the others??

At this point I'll note that our tea was refreshed regularly throughout the afternoon tea and we were given the opportunity to change our tea choice.

When we had finished our savouries the afternoon tea stand was served.....queue photo of Lorna waving at me through the top tier....

We started with the scones at the bottom of the stand, which were served with clotted cream and two different preserves. The scones were served warm, they were a good size and had a lovely colour - they looked very appealing against the white plates.

We weren't a fan of the preserves (one was strawberry and the other apricot), which seemed to lack flavour, but the scones themselves had a great texture and were not at all claggy.

We were served two scones each - one plain and one fruit. There was also plenty of cream and preserve for all three of us. 

Finally we moved onto the sweet treats, which were very pretty....

This pretty sweet selection included
Blackberry Bonbon Torte
Plum and Custard Verrine
Pear and Apple Tart
Spiced Chocolate Pyramid
Quince macaroon

The stand out item for me was the chocolate pyramid - the cake was moist and light, with layers of ganache. Each item looked beautiful, a lot of thought had gone into the presentation of this afternoon tea.

I also want to compliment the Meridian Lounge on how welcoming they are and how knowledgeable their staff were about the teas. One server in particular helped mum with her choice of tea, suggesting different ways to sweeten the tea. She also came back during the afternoon to see whether mum was enjoying her tea. It was refreshing to be served by someone who actually knew about tea and the different ways to enjoy it. 

Probably not the first choice for many people because of the location, but the Intercontinental at the O2 offers a well priced afternoon tea, with excellent service. If you'd like to know more about their afternoon tea, pop by their website

If you treated your mum to a Mother's Day afternoon tea last weekend, we'd love to hear all about it. Leave a comment on the blog, or get in touch on Facebook!

Thank you for popping by today,

Rachel & Lorna

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

It's Competition time - Squires Exhibition 2018

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!


Today we are very excited to share some news with you - this weekend it's the annual Squires Kitchen Exhibition at the Maltings in Farnham.

Not heard of the exhibition before...well its a haven for cake decorators with live demonstrations by star guests, inspirational designs in the Wedding Cake Showroom and Competition Hall, book signings and mini classes. Plus you can shop until you drop in the marketplace!

The demonstrations are great for learning new skills and getting inspiration, with sessions like Chocolate Skills by Mark Tilling (who you might remember from GBBO Crème de la Crème), Stencilling Skills by Tessa Whitehouse and a floral masterclass led by Alan Dunn. I can vouch for how good the live demos are - as I've previously attended one of Mark's chocolate demonstrations and thoroughly enjoyed learning how to work with chocolate!

Squires Exhibition takes place over two days, with the demonstrations taking place throughout the weekend:
Saturday 10th March 2018 10.00am - 5.00pm
Sunday 11th March 2018 10.00am - 5.00pm

All of this takes place in the Maltings in Farnham, Surrey. The Maltings is set in the heart of the town, it's a cultural hub allowing people to create, learn and discover. There are also several places to eat in the Maltings.....and they do great cake!

For more information visit the Squires Exhibition Website

Now for the even more exciting news - thanks to the lovely people at Squires Kitchen, we have two VIP tickets to give away! All you need to do to enter is visit our Facebook page and say hello on the Squires Exhibition post! 

Now for the boring bits....

The competition will run from Tuesday 6th March 2018 and will close at 6pm on Thursday 8th March 2018, entries received after the closing time will not be included.

The winner will be picked at random and announced on Facebook on Friday 9th March 2018, the VIP tickets will be left for the winner on the door of the venue for collection.

Entrants must live in the UK.

The prize does not include travel or any other costs incurred.

No alternative prizes will be offered.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna