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

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Time for Tea....Oddfellows, Chester

Hello there,

Welcome back to another afternoon tea review from Tea With Me and Friends. We hope you've had a tea-riffic week! As you'll remember if you popped by last week, I recently spent a wonderful weekend in Chester with Alex and her sister Louisa. As well as enjoying a rather special afternoon tea adventure at Gladstone's Library, we also squeezed in a visit to Oddfellows.

Afternoon tea - Oddfellows
Alex deciding what to eat first!

Now, you might be able to spot the rather lurid coloured profiteroles on the bottom tier....lets face it they are hard to miss! But before we get there, we need to investigate the top tiers of the stand....

Afternoon tea sandwiches - Oddfellows

Now, we weren't actually told everything that we were eating...and the eagle-eyed of you will notice that although there are three sets of sandwiches, there aren't equal flavours! We think we enjoyed some egg mayonnaise, some ham, some chicken and some cheese and pickle (we found cheese strands on nearly every sandwich!).

The sandwiches were fresh....but they weren't quite crustless....

Oh dear - is that a crust I spy??

Once we finished with the sandwiches we moved onto the middle tier and those wonderful looking scones....
Afternoon tea scones - Oddfellows

These were giant - I was quite pleased that there was only one each! They were served with little pots of jam and clotted cream. We requested extra clotted cream, which was brought out with no issues at all. The scones were tasty, but they were large!

It's worth noting that there isn't a choice of tea at Oddfellows, and a teapot is not left on your table. The small teacups are filled up on demand by the waiting staff from a communal teapot! Not the best experience as you are reliant on the waiters seeing that you need a refill and we were left without tea......

Scones - dressed the Tea With Me and Friends way!

Finally we made it to those sweets....

Afternoon tea sweet treats at Oddfellows

Again, we weren't actually told what the sweet treats were, but an educated guess (and many afternoon teas consumed) came up with the following....

Pistachio profiteroles
Vanilla cupcakes
Raspberry macaroons
Chocolate and Orange tarts

The profiteroles were light and tasty....but that green icing was rather bright! The cupcakes had a strong vanilla flavour, but the macaroons were rather disappointing as the only raspberry element was a small blob of jam in the middle. The tart was rich and chocolaty.

Oddfellows is an unusual building, full of quirky features...including an indoor tree!

Oddfellows

There are also various other spaces, including "The Grown Up Bar" and the Secret Garden. If you are looking for somewhere a little bit quirky to enjoy a cheap and cheerful tea with your friends Oddfellows definitely will be a talking point!

This afternoon tea costs £17.50 each and you can add a glass of bubbles for just £7. For more information visit the Oddfellows website.

Have you enjoyed an afternoon tea adventure in Chester? We'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Friday, 29 May 2015

The Friday Review - Teatulia

Hello there,

Happy Friday! It's that time of the week again...time for another tea review from Tea With Me and Friends Towers! This week we have been sampling teas from Teatulia that were kindly sent to us.

All black and green tea from Teatulia is organic and grown and cultivated in a way that respects the land on which it's grown and the workers who produce it. All their tea is grown in a single USDA-certified organic garden in northern Bangladesh, which is one of the largest organic tea gardens in the world.

There are currently five different teas available in rather attractive and colourful packaging....

Teatulia Tea

.....including Black Tea, Green Tea, Earl of Bengal, Tulsi Tea and Lemongrass Herbal Infusion.

So, let the tea tasting begin....

Teatulia Tea

Let's start with the Black Tea, which uses Small leaves with golden tips to create a full-bodied black tea....

Teatulia - Black Tea

This was a good cup of tea, with a strong flavour and no bitterness...in fact it had a slightly sweet note at the end. I could see myself enjoying this in the morning with my bowl of cereal.

Let's take a look at Tulsi Tea next, which includes leaves from the Tulsi plant....

Teatulia - Tulsi Tea

This is a rich black tea, with an almost spicy flavour to it. 

I've never tasted a tea like this before, but I liked it and would try it again. Apparently, this tea can be drunk hot or cold, we tried it hot and I can't imagine what it would taste like as an iced tea.

Another fragrant tea is the Earl of Bengal which contains one of my favourites....bergamot....

Teatulia - Earl of Bengal

Now this tea was everything I wanted it to be, I love bergamot in tea, but it has to be light and refreshing...which this tea was. 

Once brewed the tea was fragrant, refreshing and light - perfect!

Next let's take a look at the Green Tea....

Teatulia - Green Tea

This was a beautiful amber colour once brewed, with a rather grassy taste. It made a light, refreshing cuppa.

Finally we have the herbal infusion....Lemongrass...which of course is caffeine free....

Teatulia - Lemongrass

This was light and refreshing, a really clean tasting cup of tea. 

The lemon flavour was very distinct. but not at all artificial or overpowering. I imagine this would taste great as an iced drink in the summer as it's very refreshing.

As you can probably tell the Earl of Bengal was my favourite brew!

These teas are available from various stockists, including Holland and Barrett, in boxes of 20 individually wrapped sachets. Each box costs £3.40. For more information visit the Teatulia website.

We would like to thank the folk at Teatulia for sending us these teas. Now although these teas were sent to us as a treat, this has not affected our taste buds and all opinions are our own.

So, over to you - have you tried any of the Teatulia Teas? Which is your favourite?

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Afternoon Tea News!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, we hope you are well today.

Lorna and I were recently in London, strolling down the Strand, when we came across the latest offering from The Savoy....

Melba at The Savoy

Melba is actually located on the Strand and offers passers-by take-away, gourmet treats - all the menu at Melba is created by executive pastry chef, Ludwig Hely. Peek inside and you will discover a selection of sweet and savoury pastries, takeaway sandwiches, hot and cold beverages, Savoy gift items and an amazing selection of a new hotel signature item... ├ęclairs.

Melba at The Savoy - eclairs

Melba at The Savoy - more eclairs!
We were particularly interested in the afternoon tea items that you could buy, from freshly made finger sandwiches all packaged up to scones and mini pots of cream and jam - you could easily pick up all the treats you need for a picnic afternoon tea!

Melba at The Savoy
Sandwiches

Melba at The Savoy - scones and muffins!

Melba at The Savoy is open from morning to night, seven days a week! We took a peek inside this time, but we didn't buy anything - but if you have indulged do let us know what you thought!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Afternoon Tea News....‘Blooming delicious’ afternoon tea

Hello there,

Welcome back to another Afternoon Tea News article from Tea With Me and Friends....this time we have another beautifully floral tea to share with you.

Between the 12th May - 22nd June 2015 guests visiting the Chinoiserie lounge at Jumeirah Carlton Tower can enjoy this beau-tea-ful afternoon tea...

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

This beautiful feast is the creation of executive chef, Simon Young which includes a rosewater and raspberry flower tart, a mini plant pot filled with chocolate mousse, or orange blossom and golden raisin scones.  There is also a coconut and pineapple delice and an elderflower and chocolate window box. 

The savouries include brioche filled buns with roast peppered beef and watercress, saffron bread with Laverstoke Park mozzarella and Sussex goat’s cheese and lemon thyme muffin with Loch Fyne smoked salmon.

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

For more information about this afternoon tea please visit the Jumeirah Carlton Tower website. 

If you enjoy this limited edition tea we'd love to hear all about it - don't forget to take a photo for us!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Time for Tea...Gladstone's Library

Hello there,

Welcome back to another afternoon tea post from Tea With Me and Friends....today I would like to share with you a rather special afternoon tea adventure that I enjoyed recently with Alex.

Alex's sister Louisa works at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, North Wales and she invited us to attend a rather tea-riffic "Museum at Night" event, which was held at the library and celebrated Alice in Wonderland.

An afternoon tea adventure at Gladstone's Library

Gladstone's Library is a residential library which pays tribute to William Gladstone. It was founded by Gladstone himself and, following his death in 1898 became the national memorial to his life and work. It is a beautiful Grade 1 listed building and we were really privileged to be able to enjoy afternoon tea in one of the reading rooms.

Gladstone's Library

The room was full of vintage china and scrummy treats for everyone to enjoy....as you can imagine there were plenty of teapots to keep us in tea...

Lots of teapots! 

As this afternoon tea event was part of "Museums at Night" ,that have been taking place between 13th-16th May, this afternoon tea adventure was enjoyed at night time. 

Once everyone had arrived, we took our seats and the tea stands were served....

Afternoon tea
Gladstone's Library

The library also has it's own bistro called Food for Thought, which serves lunch to non-residents every day, and everything we enjoyed at this event was made on site by Chef Alan. 

We began with the freshly made cucumber sandwiches on the bottom tier....

Afternoon tea sandwiches - Gladstone's Library

There was just one variety of sandwich on offer, but the bread was soft and the sandwiches very fresh (not at all soggy). The sandwiches were buttered and filled with thinly sliced cucumber. There wasn't a crust in sight and the fingers were a good size - not too big and not too small. 

A very tasty start to our afternoon tea adventure!

Next we moved onto the freshly made scones....

Afternoon tea scones - Gladstone's Library

These were served with whipped cream and strawberry jam. They came pre-sliced, which was a bit unusual, but to be honest they were so fresh this made no difference. 

The scones were a good size and texture - very enjoyable!

Scones dressed the
Tea With Me and Friends way!

At the top of the cake stand were the most amazing biscuits...something quite unusual on a traditional afternoon tea menu, but they made a very enjoyable addition....

Afternoon tea biscuits - Gladstone's Library

They were big, chewy and had large chocolate chips in them .....I don't I need to say anything else about them....they were scrummy!

As well as the food on the stands there were also various large cakes dotted around the room which we could help ourselves to. I didn't manage to take any photos of the whole cakes (I was a little distracted by the rest of the scrummy food) but I did remember to take a snap of the slice I enjoyed....

Afternoon tea cake
Gladstone's Library

Now, this cake reminded me of one of my favourite Mr Kipling cakes when I was younger....the "Manor House Cake" (yes I was a weird child)...only it was much better! 

It was a scrummy golden sponge, filled with raisins and walnuts. It was everything a cake should be!

All in all this was a wonderful afternoon tea, the food was good quality and very fresh. Particular attention had also been paid to the smaller details, including the theme, which all added to the experience. I know everyone at the library worked really hard to put this event on and their efforts didn't go unnoticed.

Alice in Wonderland inspired
afternoon tea - Gladstone's Library

Once we had enjoyed our tea, the lights were dimmed and we enjoyed a series of readings from Alice in Wonderland. Each reading was unique and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening.

Gladstone's Library

Now, this was a special event - part of the event calendar at Gladstone's Library, but no fear as you can enjoy afternoon tea at the library Monday - Friday between 3pm-4pm. Afternoon tea costs £7.95 per person and includes a cup of tea or coffee, sandwiches with a choice of fillings, a fruit scone with cream and jam and a piece of sponge cake. Booking is essential, please visit the Gladstone's Library website for more information.

We were really privileged to enjoy afternoon tea in this beautiful building, I'd like to thank Louisa for telling us about this experience. 

So, over to you - have you enjoyed an afternoon tea adventure in an unusual location? We'd love to hear all about it, drop us a line!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Friday, 22 May 2015

The Friday Review....Bluebird Tea

Hello there,

It's Friday again and that means one thing here at Tea With Me and Friends.....yes it's time to share our latest tea tasting. This time we have something rather special to share with you from the lovely people at the Bluebird Tea Co.

The Bluebird Tea Co had been recommended to us by some lovely people Twitter and when I heard their teas had names like Strawberry Lemonade Tea and Honey Bee Beautiful Tea I knew we had to try these teas for ourselves!

Krisi and Mike set up and run the company, and they are clearly passionate about how innovative, fun and versatile tea can be - their motto is ‘spreading happiness, one cupful at a time.’ The Bluebird Tea Co  specialises in developing unique and creative flavours of tea.

We were sent a lovely variety of teas...including some perfect for an afternoon tea blog....take a look at these....

Bluebird Tea Co

Yes, that is Black Forest, Vicky's Sponge Cake and Cherry Bakewell! I couldn't wait to try these three! So I got some of my pretty teacups out and got ready for a cakey tea experience!

I began with the Black Forest tea....

Bluebird Tea Co - Black Forest
Now I have spent quite a bit of time in Germany, visiting the Black Forest a couple of times and yes enjoying real Black Forest gateaux and so I was really keen to try this tea out. So, whats in this blend I hear you say....well it has a black tea base but also features.... Cocoa shells, Hibiscus, Apple pieces, Elderberies, Raspberry pieces,Strawberry pieces, Blackberries, Cranberry pieces (cranberry, sugar, rice flour, vegetable oil (sunflower) Vanilla pieces, Sunflower and calendula petals, Blackberry leaves.

As you open the packet you are immediately hit by the mouth watering aroma of cherries....honestly my mouth watered! I allowed about a teaspoon of this pretty blend to brew for about four minutes and then I enjoyed the tea without milk.....

Bluebird Tea Co - Black Forest

Once brewed I had a lovely reddy-brown coloured tea that smelt of chocolate and cherries - the boiling water really brought out cocoa shells. Each mouthful is full of flavour - it's a sweet, chocolaty, fruity tea...in fact I forgot that it is actually a black tea at heart!

Next I moved onto Vicky's Sponge Cake....

Bluebird Tea Co - Vicky's Sponge Cake

Inspired by a good old fashioned Victoria Sponge cake this blend includes Ceylon black tea, Coconut, Strawberry granules, Freeze dried raspberries, Raspberry leaves. When you first open this packet you can smell the delicate aroma of vanilla and coconut...again my mouth watered!

Again I used a teaspoon of leaves and drank the tea black (I'm not a fan of milky tea)....

Bluebird Tea Co - Vicky's Sponge Cake

I love this tea...there I've said it out loud...this light golden brown brew was sweet and refreshing, with a light coconut aftertaste. 

There was nothing overpowering or artificial about this cuppa and I found it to be a really comforting cup of tea.

Finally it was time for the Cherry Bakewell...

Bluebird Tea Co - Cherry Bakewell

Just look at that pretty blend - the colours are just lovely and the aroma is sweet - full of almonds and cherries!

Now this is slight different to the first two as it's a white tea which has been combined with Apple, Rosehip, Hibiscus, Cornflowers (red + blue), Almond pieces, Currants, Cranberry pieces, Flavour.

I brewed this for slightly less time and ended up with a rather pink cuppa....

Bluebird Tea Co - Cherry Bakewell
Once brewed I could still smell the almonds, but the taste was much more fruity. There was almost a sweet and sour taste to this cuppa, I think this might have been the apples. It definitely reminded me of a lovely cherry bakewell and I would like to try this as a cold brew.

Bluebird Tea Company tea tasting

What a wonderful selection of teas to try! Plus we have three more to share with you in another Friday Review in a couple of weeks time! If you'd like to know more about these teas or discover some of the other 50+ blends that they have created please visit the Bluebird Tea Co website. If you are feeling really inspired and fancy having a go at creating your own mix you could try a mixology class!

A huge thank you to Bluebird Tea Co for sending us these scrummy samples. Please note that although we have received complimentary samples, they have not affected our taste buds and all opinions expressed here are our own.

So, over to you....have you tried any of the Bluebird Teas? Which is your favourite?

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Afternoon Tea News....Chelsea Flower show at Langham London

Hello there,

Welcome back to another afternoon tea news article at Tea With Me and Friends.....and since it is RHS Chelsea week we thought we would share with you another beautiful afternoon tea inspired by the flower show.

This time we have Chef Cherish's latest creation at the Langham London....


Cherish has taken inspiration from Laurent-Perrier’s annual designer garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show to create this pretty plate. The sweet treats include a Daisy Victoria Sponge, Langham 150 Chocolate mousseline with Raspberry (made with ‘No 150’, the Langham Chocolate soon to launch at the hotel) a Vanilla Pannacotta with lemongrass and Pineapple compote, Pina colada macaroon and a key lime log with sable.

Not only is the tea beautiful, but the Palm Court where tea is served has also been given the floral touch....


This afternoon tea adventure is limited however, available from now until 24th May. For more information please visit the Langham website.

If you enjoy this afternoon tea....or another floral inspired afternoon tea...we'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Time for....a spot of gardening?

Hello there,

Welcome back to another post from Tea With Me and Friends.

You might not know this about me, but as well as afternoon tea I am also rather partial to a spot of gardening! I am very lucky to have a lovely space at home to grown flowers and plants and I can often be found covered in soil watching my garden grow!

As you can imagine I also love the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (although sadly I've never been), and so when I saw a display that combined my two passions I just had to share it with you!

This is Interflora's floral design exhibit entitled ‘Time for Tea’ which is inspired by the tradition of afternoon tea.....

Time for Tea - Interflora - RHS Chelsea
Image from Interflora Facebook page

Interflora have won five medals for displays at RHS Chelsea in previous years, and this wonderful display has earned them a Silver Gilt award! The display can be found in the Great Pavilion, where visitors will find a teapot, teacups, cupcakes and certain jammy biscuits....

Time for Tea - Interflora - RHS Chelsea
Image from Interflora Facebook page

Time for Tea - Interflora - RHS Chelsea
Image from Interflora Facebook page

A truly beau-tea-ful display I think you'll agree....

Time for Tea - Interflora - RHS Chelsea
Image from Interflora Facebook page

For more information about the display visit the Interflora Facebook page and for details about the flowers used take a peek at the Interflora blog.

If you visit RHS Chelsea and see the tea-riffic flower display in person we'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Monday, 18 May 2015

Afternoon Tea News.....Afternoon tea adventures at the Lancaster

Hello there,

Welcome back to another afternoon tea news article....this time I wanted to share with you some of the new afternoon teas planned for the Lancaster London. We last visited the Lancaster London in December when we enjoyed the delights created by Chef Ben Purton.....but take a look at what's in store for future guests.....

Father’s Day Themed Afternoon Tea

What do real men want for Father’s Day? Afternoon Tea of course!


Priced at just £30 per head, this afternoon masculine tea includes ‘Dad Favourites’ such as Mini beef burgers, Leek and stilton tarts, and Honey roast ham with English mustard sandwiches, alongside classic Afternoon Tea delights such as Plain and raisin scones served warm, with homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream, and a selection of cakes and pastries and of course plenty of Tea.




Blooming Lovely Chelsea Flower Show Afternoon Tea

Lancaster London has launched a beautiful floral inspired Afternoon Tea to mark the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show.

Priced at just £30 per head, the Tea includes exquisite sweet treats including Lavender and peach tarts, Passion fruit and raspberry lollipops, and Strawberry and white chocolate opera cakes.

Delicately fragrant summer herbs have also been used to infuse the Rosemary scones and Thyme cupcakes, which are on offer alongside the usual selection of homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of fine finger sandwiches, savoury tartlets, and of course tea.

The Chelsea Flower Show Afternoon Tea will be in bloom for a short time only, from 19-23 May 2015.

For more information visit the Lancaster London website. If you enjoy one of these afternoon teas we'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Time for Tea....Back to the Ampersand!

Hello there,

Happy Saturday! Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends for another fab guest post from our lovely reader Victoria Redshaw. If you've popped by before you'll probably recognise Victoria's name as she has written a couple of fab guest post for us now and we always love to hear about her latest afternoon tea adventure.....

Having visited this blog for afternoon tea inspiration on a few occasions, Marian, my oldest friend and I selected the Ampersand Hotel for our next girly meet up, thanks to Rachel & Lorna’s recommendation.  We were attracted by the location, the variety of sweet treats by pastry chef Ju Sin and the fact that they offer a vegetarian option, which was perfect for Marian, and I could still have the “classic”.

The area for afternoon tea is beautifully decorated, with quirky furnishings and a bird theme running throughout.  We were on a table which was very low, but with equally low chairs; we loved it!  We did have the option of moving to a “proper” table, but decided we were perfectly happy with our position which was also perfect for people watching!

Before we received our afternoon tea, we had a glass of champagne each – celebrating Marian’s imminent house move, my new job and our birthdays.  Well, why not?

Marian enjoying some bubbles with her tea

So, to start we had a selection of tartines (open sandwiches) on the thinnest of French bread.  Yes, there is a crust on there, but it worked incredibly well.  On the classic option, there was smoked salmon, coronation chicken, cheddar cheese and a turkey and mustard tartine.  Marian’s vegetarian plate had egg and watercress, cucumber and a goat’s cheese with apple tartine.  The thinness of the bread ensured that we weren’t too bloated, which we both agreed was beneficial.

Afternoon tea open sandwiches - Ampersand 


Onto the scones.  Beautifully fresh, one fruit scone and one plain served with strawberry jam and a scoop of clotted cream.  We both agreed they were delicious.  Marian almost left part of hers, having seen the top layer of sweet treats, but then thought better of it!  So frequently people seem to make a scone too “claggy”, but these were perfect!

Afternoon tea scones - Ampersand


So, that top layer.  Well, what a great bunch of sweet treats they were!  The lemon meringue tart was simply superb, with the most delicious lemon curd inside.  The English breakfast tea chocolate bonbon was perfect, in fact I’m still thinking about it now.  However, my very favourite was the perfectly light chocolate brownie with peanut honey ganache.  Wow!  What a show stopper!

Afternoon tea sweets - Ampersand


All this was washed down with a leaf tea – mine was a supremely fragrant Jasmine Silver Tip and Marian enjoyed the Lemon Verbena, which she said was very refreshing.

The vegetarian afternoon tea was £25 and the classic £27.50.  A glass of champagne added £12 onto the cost of each option.  I see they have a Chelsea Flower Show themed tea from 9th May; maybe I’ll have to return to London rather sooner than I anticipated!

Any regular visitors to the blog will know that we've enjoyed lots of afternoon tea adventures at The Ampersand, so we are so pleased to see other people enjoying the teas on offer there too. If you'd like to know more about the amazing pastry chef behind these fab creations take a peek at our meet the chef article!

A huge thank you to Victoria for another lovely post - we always love seeing your photos and can't wait for the next one! If you'd like to share your latest afternoon tea adventure with us we'd love to hear from you!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna