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

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Something Beau-tea-ful....green tea body scrub!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you've had a tea-riffic Christmas!

We've been a little bit quiet here at Tea Towers over the last week, but never fear...we're back with lots of of scrummy afternoon tea photos and tea articles!

Today, I thought I would share something a little bit different with you....we all know that tea is brilliant and we drink a lot of it here at Tea Towers...we've also been known to bake with it and even tried it in our sandwiches when we visited Piacha earlier this year. That got me thinking about how else we could use tea and I started researching homemade beauty products.

Beau-tea-ful body scrub

Now I love a good body scrub and so when I found recipes for green tea body scrubs I thought I would give them a try. We all know the benefits of green tea when we drink it...full of antioxidants and good stuff.....but apparently its also beneficial if used in skin care too.

This recipe is really simple, with only four ingredients....

Green tea body scrub ingredients

To fill one 10oz jar you will need...

200g brown sugar (you can use white if you prefer)
100g coconut oil (that's 100g whilst it's still solid)
2 green tea bags
2 tsp matcha powder

I used Lucy Bee raw coconut oil as that's what I happened to have in my kitchen cupboard, I measured out 100g and then melted it.

For the matcha powder I didn't have any pure powder at home (shock horror) but I did have some Pukka tea supreme matcha green, which is a combination of green tea leaves and matcha powder. I used two of these bags for this pot of scrub.

To make the scrub, pour the coconut oil into the brown sugar and combine until all the sugar has been coated - make sure you mix well. Then simply add in the tea leaves and powder and combine.

This will give you quite a dry looking scrub....

Green tea body scrub

However, once combined with water the scrub worked well. If however you prefer something a bit wetter, add a little more coconut oil. Once happy with your scrub put it in an air tight container.

The scrub works well, the sugar is courser than I thought it would be, but is well balanced by the coconut oil. Once rinsed you are left with really smooth skin, with a light coconut fragrance.

All in all I was rather pleased with my first homemade beau-tea-ful product!

Tea With Me and Friends and the
beau-tea-ful green tea body scrub!


When I returned to my body scrub a little later it was rather dry and hard to handle - it still worked as a brilliant scrub, but it was a bit crumbly and hard to pick out of the jar. I would therefore add a little more coconut oil to my mix next time!

Have you got any tea beauty products that you've tried - we'd love to hear about them! Leave a comment below.....

Thank you for popping by today,

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Christmas Tea....Tiger Spring Tea

Hello there,

Recently I met Nigel from Tiger Spring Tea at the Farnham Christmas Market. We got chatting about tea and I might have bought some rather lovely Christmas Tea in the process!

Tiger Spring is a small company run by two dedicated tea drinkers. They offer more than 30 loose leaf teas which you can buy from their online shop or from their stall at various food and farmers markets. Nigel is passionate about his tea, something which was apparent as he was talking to other visitors to his stall.

As well as more traditional teas, Tiger Spring currently have three special blends - the Balham Builder's Blend (a black tea blend), the Moroccan Mint Blend and also their Christmas Tea (Spice Blend).....

Christmas Tea - Tiger Spring Tea

This Christmas tea is a blend of black ceylon tea, orange peel, cloves, cinnamon bark and ginger. It has a zesty aroma when you open the bag.....

Christmas Tea - Tiger Spring Tea

The tea needs to be brewed for about 4-5 minutes and can be enjoyed with or without milk.....Nigel told me I might like to add a little sugar or honey too. I opted to drink it without milk and sugar to start with.....of course I drank it from my Santa mug.....

Christmas Tea - Tiger Spring Tea

This is a lovely Christmas cup of tea....its warming because of the ginger and cloves, but it also has a lovely fruity feel to it from the orange peel. Its quite a light Christmas blend, but well balanced and very enjoyable.

To find out more about this and other teas on offer from Tiger Spring Teas pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Time for Tea.....Squire's Garden Centre, Badshot Lea

Hello there,

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

I have officially "broken up" for Christmas now (yes, I'm aware I sound about 8 years old right now) and to celebrate my friend Kirtsy and I went to Squire's Garden Centre in Badshot Lea for a spot of afternoon tea. A bit of an odd choice of location for an afternoon tea adventure maybe, but we had seen the teas advertised previously and decided to try one. Squires is a family-owned garden centre group with 15 centres across West London, Surrey, Berkshire and Sussex.

We opted for the standard Champagne afternoon tea rather than the festive option which is currently available. We had to pick the sandwiches we wanted and whether we wanted a fruit or plain scone when we booked our afternoon tea, we also had to pay a deposit of £5 per person.

When we arrived at our table, it was dressed with a red table cloth and we had crackers and plain white china waiting for us. Each table also had a reservation sign....

Once we had our 1/4bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne and choice of tea from the menu, the afternoon tea stand was served....

Champagne afternoon tea
Squires Garden Centre

When we booked our tea we had to each choose a sandwich filling from the following choice....

Coronation Chicken
Egg Mayo & Cucumber
Gammon Ham & Dijon Mayo
Smoked Salmon & Dill Crème Fraîche

We were told we could pick one filling each and we would get four finger sandwiches. We decided to be a bit clever and pick the coronation chicken and the egg mayo between us and then we would share....this plan of action worked very well and gave us some savoury variety....

Afternoon tea sandwiches - Squires

Both sets of sandwiches were served on soft, fresh bread and were filled generously. There was the odd bit of crust still on the bread, but generally these were great sandwiches. The egg mayonnaise and cucumber was a little odd served together...I would have preferred just egg if I am honest, but it was still enjoyable. The coronation chicken was so good - big chunks of chicken combined with a creamy, curry sauce....perfect!

Next we moved onto the scones....take a look at the size of these....

Afternoon tea scones - Squires 

We got one each....but you wouldn't have wanted anymore!

The scones were served with Roddas clotted cream (one mini tub each) and a pot of strawberry preserve each. The scones weren't warm, but they were fresh and a lovely consistency. 

On the top tier of the cake stand we had two pieces of cake each....

Afternoon tea cakes - Squires

The cherry bakewell was nice, but it was the chocolate and cherry cake that really stole the show. It was a little gooey and really chocolately......really, really scrummy!

It's worth noting that you receive one 1/4 bottle of champagne between the two people, this gives you a glass each. 

You will also not be given any extras with this afternoon tea...what you see is what you get....however at £29.95 for two people I couldn't fault the value. The food is a good quality and very fresh and the service was professional and friendly. All in all a great afternoon tea, in a relaxed environment....perfect for catching up with friends.

Afternoon tea - Squires

For more information about this afternoon tea please visit the Squire's website. 

Thank you for popping by today,

Friday, 18 December 2015

The Friday Review....Harrods Spiced Black Tea

Hello there,

We hope you've had a tea-riffic week!

Today is Friday yet again.....so here on the Friday Review we are sharing another tea with you. This week it's the turn of the Harrods Christmas tea, which is a spiced black tea.

Recently I was extremely lucky to receive The Christmas Carol hamper from Harrods as a rather wonderful gift (I am so lucky - the sheer delight of unpacking the hamper was immense!). The hamper comes in a large hat box and contains rather a lot of goodies....

Harrods Christmas Carol Hamper

Once I had wrestled the lid off the box I discovered the scrummy treats inside included:

Spiced Omni-Grind Coffee
Spiced Black Loose Leaf Tea
Honey & Clementine Biscuits with Golden Sparkle
Winter Spiced Biscuits with Golden Sparkle
Clementine & Sweet Orange Marmalade
Spiced Pear & Madagascan Vanilla Jam
Brandy Butter with Courvoisier VS Cognac
Classic Christmas Pudding

......and a fabulous glossy Harrods red Christmas Bauble!

Harrods Christmas Carol Hamper

I got quite excited when I saw the Christmas inspired tea and decided I would try it straight away!

This is a black tea black tea from Sri Lanka which has been mixed with spices including cinnamon, cloves, orange and ginger, to create a truly festive blend. 

I decided this needed to be drunk in my Spode Christmas teacup with a mince pie (or two) to really appreciate the experience.....

Harrods Christmas Spiced Black Tea

I have to say I love this tea!

As you probably all know by now I LOVE Christmas! I love the food, the music, the films, the drinks....everything! But sometimes the Christmas teas I have enjoyed haven't been the best, the balance of spice isn't quite right or sometimes the spice is overpower. 

This cup of tea however was perfect - the black tea is bright and lively, strong enough to balance out the spices. And the spices in the blend have been well picked - this really is a fab cup of Christmas tea....I am slightly disappointed at how small the tin is....I think a trip into London might be required!

And just in case there weren't enough sweet treats in this post....take another peek at the homemade mince pies I enjoyed with my tea.....

Homemade mince pies from Tea With Me and Friends

For more information about this festive tea pop by the Harrods website.

Do you have a favourite Christmas tea? Why not leave us a comment and tell us all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,

Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas afternoon tea....Corinthia London

Hello there,

We hope you are well today - we thought we would share another scrummy looking festive afternoon tea with you.....and today it's the Laurent-Perrier Festivi-tea Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London which is available from now until 4th January 2016.

Corinthia London are serving a selection of festive fancies, inspired by the festive season.....

The menu includes delights such as 

Mince Pie
Spiced Mince Pie Macaron, Sablé Breton

Plum Amaretto Tart
Almond Mousseline, Roasted Plums

Golden Choquette
Chestnut Bramley Apple Choux Bun, Marron Glacé 

Christmas Pudding Gâteaux
Candied Fruits, Lemon Brandy Mousse 

Pumpkin and Fennel Pavé 

Manjari Swiss Roll, Cherry Jam

Lemon Brûlée, Scented Pine, Spiced Sablé

Scented Mulled Wine
Pain D'éspices, Panna Cotta, Chocolate Crunch 

In addition guests will enjoy a selection of savoury items and of course warm scones served with cream and preserves.....not forgetting the bubbles!

To find out more about this festive feast pop by the Corinthia London website.

Have you tried this afternoon tea? If so we'd love to hear what it was like.....leave us a comment and let us know!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Christmas tea at home...featuring The Tea Chest

Hello there,

We hope you are well and are looking forward to the festive season! Have you put your tree up yet - we have!

Last weekend Lorna and I enjoyed a Christmas afternoon tea feast at home with our friends. As regular readers know.....Lorna and I usually bake our own afternoon tea treats when we enjoy a spot of tea at home. This time Lorna kept up the tradition.....but I have been so busy at work that I ran out of time to bake and decided to rely on shop bought goodies instead! I know - shock horror!

Another new addition to the afternoon tea feast were the actual teas we drank during with the food. We were lucky enough to be sent some brand new teas to showcase from Tea Chest , the bespoke blend tea subscription company. The guys at Tea Chest kindly put together two brand new Christmas blends for us to try! But more about that later....lets start with some of the sweet treats.....

Christmas afternoon tea with Tea With Me and Friends

Our feast included a selection of Christmas inspired sandwiches, spiced scones, chocolate cookie Christmas puds, mini mince pies, pieces of stollen, mini gingerbread men and of course Christmas cake. Quite a selection!

The sandwich fillings included traditional afternoon tea fillings such as egg mayonnaise as well as more Christmassey fillings such as turkey and cranberry sauce. Lorna even parted with tradition slightly and built a tower of sandwiches....

Lorna's sandwich tower!

We also added an extra savoury element to the spread from the Sainsbury's Taste the Difference range in the form of vol au vents....

First of the shop bought treats - vol au vent cases from Sainsbury's

These all butter cases were simply divine - bite sized and so buttery! I filled them with prawns and topped with a little paprika....

Prawn vol-au-vents - very retro!

These proved to be very popular, I'll definitely buy the cases again.

Lorna's Christmas scones were also a triumph...she took her basic scone recipe and added some Christmassey spices. I'm not sure what she added, but they smelt and tasted wonderful....

Afternoon tea scones with a Christmas twist

....especially when covered in clotted cream....

Scones served the Tea With Me and Friends way!

When it came to the sweet treats we enjoyed during the feast, there were a mixture of shop bought and homemade treats on offer. Fresh from the shelves of Sainsbury's came mini mince pies and stollen bites....

More shop bought treats from Sainsbury's

Unfortunately we were slightly more disappointed with these shop bought items.

 The mini mince pies were ok, but the bigger version of them avaliable in the shops is much better (maybe because there is more of them??). The stollen bites I didn't enjoy at all....I'm usually a big stollen fan but there was something a little odd about the texture.

The homemade treats were much more pleasing...with Becca making the most scrummy chocolate cookies which looked like Christmas puddings. 

These were rich and dense and the white chocolate topping complimented the biscuit really well....plus they looked super cute....

Becca's chocolate cookie Christmas puddings - amazing!

Lorna made the most gorgeous mini gingerbread men...and ladies. They were bite sized and flavoured well with ginger, plus Lorna decorated them with icing which made them really cute. 

She also made a mini Christmas cake by taking a shop bought fruit cake and wrapping it with marzipan and icing...

Lorna's gingerbread men and women

As we enjoyed our Christmas feast we watched Christmas movies and drank the Christmas tea sent to us by Tea Chest.....

Tea from Tea Chest
Santa's Sleigh and Christmas Pudding blends

The blends were called Santa's Sleigh and Christmas Pudding.

Santa's Sleigh is a smokey black tea, based on the original black tea that was carried on caravans from China to St Petersburg. This tea is smokey, just like Santa would be after making all his trips down chimneys on Christmas Eve. The tea is enjoyable, it has a light smokey taste - not too over powering. We enjoyed it black without any milk or sugar.

The Christmas Pudding blend is a combination of black tea, festive spices, real fruit pieces, vanilla and rose essences. This tea can be enjoyed with or without milk and it is recommended that you add a little sugar to bring out the flavours. This tea wasn't as popular with our guests, as the rose is a little strong in flavour, but we liked the idea of the tea.

Christmas tea blends from Tea Chest

To find out more about Tea Chest and the tea subscriptions they offer, which are delivered directly to your door please visit their website.

A tea delivery from Tea Chest - fits through the letterbox!

We've enjoyed sharing our Christmas afternoon tea with you....we hope you've enjoyed drooling over the photos! We'd like to thank Tea Chest for sharing their new blends with us - its always exciting to try new teas!

If you enjoy a Christmas afternoon tea this festive season we'd love to hear all about it - let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Christmas afternoon tea stand
Tea With Me and Friends

Thank you for popping by today,

Rachel & Lorna

Tea With Me and Friends at Christmas!

Friday, 11 December 2015

The Friday Review - BlueBird Tea....The Christmas Edition Part 2!

Hello there,

Happy Friday! Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends. This week we are bringing you another two Christmas teas from the BlueBird Tea Company. Last week we featured White Christmas and Mulled Wine....this week we have Christmas Cake and Gingerbread Chai (which were the two samples that BlueBird sent me).

Let's start with the Christmas Cake blend.....

Christmas Cake - BlueBird Tea Co

This black tea is the ultimate Christmas tea I think....just look at those leaves....there is some Christmas tree in there as well as the cute little snowflakes!

The blend includes Ceylon black tea, vanilla pieces, almond pieces, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, spruce needles and snowflake sprinkles! 

It looks really exciting when you first see the leaves and the aroma is rich and cakey!

Christmas Cake - BlueBird Tea Co

Brew this tea for four minutes and it can be served with or without milk.....I opted for without tea.

Once brewed the aroma got stronger and the tea itself was a dark amber colour. The flavour was quite amazing....it was sweet and warming and very reminiscent of Christmas Cake! I thoroughly enjoyed this cup and was quite sad that I only had enough leaves for one cup!

Finally we have the Gingerbread Chai which is a rooibos blend....

Gingerbread Chai - BlueBird Tea Co

This blend features rooibos, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and mallow flowers - it has a spicy aroma and is very pretty.

This tea should be served for at least four minutes and can be served with or without milk....this time I opted for milk! Once brewed this tea had an almost biscuity aroma...

Gingerbread Chai - BlueBird Tea Co

This is a very warming cup of tea and I could taste the ginger more than I could smell it. I did have a taste before I added the milk and I think I preferred the tea with milk as it had a creamier flavour.

To find out more about these Christmas blends pop by the BlueBird Tea website!

Christmas Teas from BlueBird Tea Co

I really enjoyed trying all four Christmas teas from BlueBird Tea and might have indulged in the odd mince pie during the tasting. My favourite blend was the Christmas Cake tea - tea, cake and Christmas all in one cup!

If you try any of the BlueBird Tea Christmas Teas this year we'd love to hear what you think....which is your favourite blend?

Thank you for popping by today,

Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas Afternoon Tea....Lancaster London

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends as we bring you yet another fab festive afternoon tea creation. Today we are featuring the Christmas creation of Chef Ben Purton at Lancaster London. You'll remember that we visited Lancaster London around Christmas time last year and we're impressed with the friendly service and tasty afternoon tea.

Let's take a look at this year's Christmas afternoon tea....

There are both sandwiches and savouries on offer with this feast, which include.....

Lancaster London home smoked salmon,
honey & grain mustard cream cheese
Free range Farm egg & wild cress
Roast English beef & horseradish
Cucumber, rock salt & crushed pepper

Warm turkey & cranberry tartlet
Pigs in blanket

There are also Christmas scones served with strawberry vanilla jam, orange marmalade and of course plenty of clotted cream.

The sweet selection includes:
White chocolate & raspberry lolly pops
Pistachio & Amarena cherries slice
Homemade mince pies
Mandarin custard tarts
Mini-Christmas Yule logs

I love that the tea includes pigs in blankets and the scones sound amazing! 

This festive afternoon tea feast is available from £30 per person between the 29th November 2015 and 4th January 2016. For more information visit the Lancaster London website.

If you try this afternoon tea we'd love to hear what you think, please get in touch!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Time for Tea....The Chesterfield, Mayfair

Hello there,

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

Recently Lorna and I visited The Chesterfield in Mayfair (London) to try their Christmas afternoon tea (yes, I know we're only just in December but we both LOVE Christmas and wanted to get into the Christmas spirit!).

The Chesterfield is somewhere that we haven't tried before, its a four star hotel located in Mayfair with a Regency style. Until the 3rd January they are serving their Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea....

Christmas afternoon tea sweets -
The Chesterfield Hotel

The Chesterfield is a rather traditional hotel and their afternoon tea offering is also rather traditional. 

They have a fairly extensive tea menu to pick from, however I was disappointed that we were given only one tea strainer despite ordering two very different teas (one a delicate white tea and one a Christmas spiced tea!). Once we highlighted this error another tea strainer was brought out - but not before both teas were poured through the one strainer!

The first thing to be served was a shot of warm mulled wine....

Christmas afternoon tea mulled wine -
The Chesterfield Hotel

Now, I love a cup of mulled wine at Christmas time....but if I'm honest on this occasion I'm not really sure what a shot glass of mulled wine added to the afternoon tea experience.

Next the tea stand was served, which included the sandwiches, scones and sweets.

The sandwiches included:
Roast turkey with cranberry mayonnaise on white bread
Honey roast ham with Cheddar cheese and tomato chutney on onion bread
Scottish smoked salmon with cream cheese on brown bread
Free range egg mayonnaise and watercress on basil bread
Cucumber and cream cheese on white bread

Christmas afternoon tea sandwiches - The Chesterfield Hotel

The sandwiches were fresh and well filled, but they were a little uninspiring and not overly Christmassey.

We were offered a refill of the sandwiches, which we declined before moving onto the scones which were served warm (although not covered) with clotted cream and strawberry preserve....

Afternoon tea scones - The Chesterfield Hotel

The scones had a distinctively homemade look about them and were rather flat in appearance....however they were incredibly light and tasty. We devoured all the scones very quickly!

Next we moved onto the sweet plate....

Christmas afternoon tea sweets - The Chesterfield Hotel

Although you can only see four sweets in this photo, there were actually six in total. 

The selection included:
Mulled wine macaroon
Christmas tree chocolate pot
Cranberry and vanilla cheesecake
Snowman cupcake
Yule log
Festive fruit tart 

We were rather underwhelmed by this plate as it lacked a lot of the traditional Christmas items we thought we might see in this traditional hotel. Where was the Christmas cake or mince pie? 

The Festive fruit tart was just a normal fruit tart....I'm not entirely sure what was festive about it! The Mulled wine macaroon lacked flavour...in fact the main flavour was almonds.

Lorna enjoyed the yule log and I was pleased to discover the snowman cupcake was in fact a ginger cake, which was well flavoured. The other items were ok, but not memorable.

We were offered additional food throughout our time at The Chesterfield and the service was friendly. However, we were left a little disappointed with this afternoon tea as it lacked a little finesse and a lot of Christmas spirit.

The tea costs £34.50 per person, or £41.50 per person with a glass of bubbles.

The Chesterfield offers afternoon tea throughout the year and previously served a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea. For more information about the afternoon teas on offer visit the Chesterfield website. Have you tried an afternoon tea at the Chesterfield - we'd love to hear what you thought...

Thank you for popping by today,

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Friday Review....BlueBird Tea - the Christmas Edition!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends. Today is Friday so that means one thing....its time to share another tea or two with you!

This week we've got a little festive and tried some of the fab Christmas teas from BlueBird Tea. If you've popped by before you'll know we've featured BlueBird Tea previously and were impressed by the inventive blends on offer. So this time we decided to give their Christmas teas a try.....

Christmas Teas - BlueBird Tea Co

 BlueBird Teas have several different blends to pick from this Christmas, and I opted to buy the Mulled Wine and White Christmas varieties....and BlueBird Tea surprised me with samples of the Christmas Cake and Gingerbread Chai to try. 

This week I am going to feature the Mulled Wine and White Christmas blends....you'll have to pop back next week to see the other two teas!

Now I love a cup of Mulled Wine at Christmas time, you can't beat a warming cup on a cold winter evening.....so you can imagine how happy I was when I saw this blend!

Mulled Wine - BlueBird Tea Co

This is a fruity tea featuring Hibiscus, Rosehip, Apple pieces, Lemon pieces, Orange peel, Orange flowers, Cloves and Cinnamon. It should be brewed for at least four minutes get to get maximum flavour and should be served without milk.

The aroma from the blend is mouth watering and immediately made me think of Christmas time!

Mulled Wine - BlueBird Tea Co

Once brewed the tea is a pretty ruby red colour...again just like Mulled Wine and the aroma was still strong.

The taste however wasn't as strong as I had hoped. It's a really lovely cup of tea, warming and spicy, but it lacked some of the punch of a traditional cup of mulled wine (although the kick is probably from the alcohol!).

The White Christmas blend is a white tea which has been blended with chocolate and cherries....

White Christmas - BlueBird Tea Co

This limited edition Christmas tea features Chinese white tea, Apple pieces, Hibiscus, Rosehip, White chocolate vermicelli, Cocoa shells, Morello cherries and Rose petals. It should be brewed for three minutes and served without milk.

The leaves have a very distinct cherry aroma and I love that you can see the white chocolate sprinkles. I couldn't wait to try this tea!

White Christmas - BlueBird Tea Co

Once brewed this tea is a light red colour and has a shimmery finish......just like snow!

The aroma of cherries intensifies once the tea has brewed and the tea has a wonderful creamy, cherry flavour. It's a very light and delicate tea.

To find out more about these teas pop by the BlueBird Tea website, and don't forget to pop back next week to see the Christmas Cake and Gingerbread Chai blends!

Thank you for popping by today,