Tag Archives: Tea

Dear Diary: Confessions Of A Tea Addict

Dear Diary: Confessions Of  A Tea Addict

I am an addict, a tea addict, I can calmly say it, and it does feel good to get it off my chest, but you know even though I have already had five cups today, I know that I am not going to stop, I like being a tea addict.

I don’t have many vices, I don’t really drink anymore, I don’t do drugs, I’ve given up on the fizzy stuff, cola not champagne, and dairy and me have come to an understanding, I just have milk when it comes with a good cuppa. For me, tea is calming, it is something to break up the long stretches in front of the computer, and in this weather it keeps me warm, plus you can’t collect pretty bone china tea cups and teapots without a love for tea.

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Afternoon Tea: Aqua Shard – High Tea

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My love of afternoon tea goes further than my love of cakes or tea, of course that is important, but it is also about the experience that I love the most. Whether it is a fancy hotel, an adorable theme, or in the case of Aqua Shard breath-taking views of the London skyline.

A couple of weeks ago before it turned dark at 3pm, I enjoyed my first visit to The Shard‘s restaurant Aqua Shard up on the 31st floor to join my friend Alex, who is a little obsessed with the place, for a contemporary take on the traditional afternoon tea.

Seated with a panoramic view of Tower Bridge, St Paul’s and the Tower of London, it was already worth it before the food was presented – I have to be honest I was in awe at how spectacular London looked from 31 floors up.

The afternoon tea itself was delicious, from the sculpted Shard cake, which looked too good to eat, to the soft-centred chocolate truffle, to the tiny but exquisite lemon meringue pie and my favourite the fruit salad millefeuille.

The sweet treats were the best bit of the afternoon tea for me, on par with the selection of teas that they offer from the Rare Tea Company, it was hard to choose which one to go for but I decided to try the Royal Air Force tea, a calming tea specially blended for the RAF combining Darjeeling and Malawi teas and it was divine.

It was the sandwiches and scones that yet the afternoon tea down a little, with no vegetarian option I had to opt just for the egg curried mayonnaise, which was nice but with no variety it was a little too overpowering. The scones, vanilla and raisin and orange blossom, were a little tasteless to be honest, and the jam and clotted cream was just too runny.

Overall I enjoyed the Aqua Shard high tea, which is being billed as the highest in London, the view and the cakes made the trip totally worth it. I would have liked the staff to have been more attentive though, I had to ask more than once for hot water for my tea, they didn’t go through what the sandwiches, cakes and scones were when it was presented, and they didn’t seem knowledgeable about the tea choice. I am being super picky, but that is the sort of service that I expect with afternoon tea – luckily the view and setting won me over!!!

If you like to eat with a view then you have to check out Aqua Shard, the restaurant also does breakfast, lunch, dinner and has a great cocktail menu – also try and go when it is still light as then you can see the view before and after dark it really does look amazing.

High Tea at Aqua Shard is served daily between 3.00 – 5.00pm and costs from £29.50.
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**I was a guest of Aqua Shard – but as always my opinion is honest – if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t have featured it**

Afternoon Tea: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych

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I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have fond memories of reading Roald Dahl’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so when I found out that London hotel, One Aldwych were putting on a scrumdiddlyumptious afternoon tea to celebrate the opening of the musical on the West End I just had to try it out.

I am a huge fan of themed afternoon teas when they are done well, which generally means that the hotel or restaurant has to take the concept to the max and pair it with great food, One Aldwych’s head chef Dominic Teague has done just that and created a memorable experience that tastes incredible.

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When I sat down to afternoon tea in the throne-like chairs, surrounded by magnificent artwork and Wimbledon-inspired floral displays, I wasn’t sure what to expect, I had only ever previous enjoyed cocktails during London Fashion Week, but I knew as soon as I saw the wonderfully illustrated menus that it was going to be fun.

Each menu is dedicated to a different family from Charlie and his granddad Joe to the Salt family with the spoilt brat Veruca, who actually looks adorable dressed like a ballerina on the menu. It is touches like this that is seen throughout the afternoon tea, which really has taken the concept of capturing the imagination and ran with it.Afternoon-tea-One-aldwych-9Afternoontea-One-aldwych-14

The adventure started with Cocktail Charlie, which came out smoking dry ice and bubbling away in a carafe looking something more like an experiment than a drink. The cocktail itself was strong, which is hardly surprising considering it contains a mix of Dalmore Whisky, Cherry Marnier, chocolate bitters and Champagne. I am not much of a whiskey drinker but even I couldn’t help get excited about this drink.

Next up was the savoury platter, featuring the most delicious selection of vegetarian treats from a yummy tomato tart to mini leak and Stilton quiches, and a great choice of sandwiches including the traditional cucumber and chive crème fraiche on wholemeal bread, cheese paired with the most incredible chutney, and egg mayonnaise.

Normally the savoury plate is my least favourite, I am all about the desserts, but this was more than substantial and each piece was prepared perfectly and tasted amazing, I was actually a little stuffed before the Willy Wonka-style sweet treats came out.

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The real Charlie and the Chocolate Factory magic really shines through in the sweets, from pear drop and rhubarb and custard flavoured candy floss to blueberry brioche, vanilla cheesecake and mango filled golden egg, and one of my favourite desserts Eton Mess, which was all nicely washed down with chocolate caramel milk slurped out of a retro style bottle.

Everything from start to finish really was perfection on the taste buds and thought out. It wasn’t too sweet and sickly, even with all the chocolate and candy floss, it still had elements of the traditional tea with the magnificent scones, which were rounded off perfectly with the apple and meadowsweet compote, and the commitment to the theme makes this one of the most original afternoon teas I have enjoyed.

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If like me, one of your favourite childhood books was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory then you will love seeing it brought to life in this themed afternoon tea, and I am sure it is especially wonderful to get you in the mood if you are off to see the musical show.

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired Afternoon Tea runs until December 31 in One Aldwych’s Lobby Bar, priced £29.50 per person or £38 with a Charlie cocktail or a glass of Lallier Grand Réserve Champagne.

One Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BZ 

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Royal Albert Tea Tour: Afternoon Tea In Bloomsbury Square

royal-albert-tea-tour-7As a lover of tea, cakes and pretty bone china, I was thrilled to be able to drop the Royal Albert’s whistle-stop Tea Tour around London. All in the name of charity, the quintessentially English teaware company, known for its love of floral printed tea cups, has been popping up across London this month serving tea and cakes to raise money for Breast Cancer Care as part of their Strawberry Tea campaign.

Even though Friday didn’t have the best weather, it was generally raining for most of the day, it was fun to wind down for an hour in the Royal Albert make-shift cafe in Bloomsbury Square, which was decorated so beautifully with floral bunting, gorgeous roses, and even vintage accessories to dress up in while you enjoy your afternoon tea.

I went with my good friend Jaclyn and it was so much fun catching up while sipping delicious tea from Royal Albert’s new floral collections, which all have such cute names like Cheeky Pink, Rose Confetti and Polka Blue. I have to be honest I kept asking for more tea just to sip from all the different designs, I love how the vintage floral designs seem to have been made more modern with the gorgeous colours and polka dots – I want them all!!!

There is only one stop left on the Royal Albert Tea Tour 2013 and it takes place on Friday, July 5 in Spitalfields in London, so if you are in the area between 10-4pm do drop by and enjoy a free cup of tea, just don’t forget to pop in a little donation into the Breast Cancer Care donation box.

As it was such a lovely event I documented the event using Instagram’s new video app, which I then uploaded to YouTube to share on here:

Are you a fan of afternoon tea and floral bone china?

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