Friday, 2 December 2016

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: The Daffodil Hotel, Grasmere

With lakeside views to take your breath away, the Daffodil Hotel has arguably one of the most picturesque vantage points in all of Grasmere. Recently re-opened after a flood induced closure in twenty-fifteen, the hotel is once again available for afternoon tea bookings. 

As a venue that’s been on my radar for quite some time, I decided to head out there last month whilst on a trip away with my parents!

Boasting one of the largest afternoon tea selections that I have ever come across, the Daffodil Hotel caters for just about every taste preference imaginable. From spicy coronation chicken sandwiches, to smokey cheese scones and crusty mini haddock & onion quiches, this menu has been perfectly imagined to satisfy both traditional and non-traditional afternoon tea lovers alike. 

With a selection of cakes that reaches a grand total of eight varieties including; cake pops, chocolate torte, coffee financier, macarons and viennese whirls, the Daffodil’s tea menu has something for everyone - even non cake lovers!

Although he likes the occasional sweet treat, it's fair to say that my Dad isn't as much of a cake fiend as the rest of the family and whenever we've been for afternoon tea in the past he's often commented on how it'd be great if venues could offer a sandwich and scone selection alongside their full afternoon tea menu. I must admit that I've never come across this option before, but was very impressed to find it listed as 'Light Afternoon Tea' on the Daffodil's menu.

For around £6.00 less than the traditional offering you're able to get all of the savouries of a full afternoon tea and just a touch of the sweet, with a selection of fruit and plain scones to finish - perfect for sugar free friends or anyone looking to cut the calories in the run up to Christmas.

What really sells the Daffodil's afternoon tea is its variety and this is extended into their Christmas offering, which is available exclusively throughout December, including: a Black Bomber Cheese Scone, Mince Pie Macaroon, Spiced Berry Panacotta, Christmas Pudding Cake Pop and a Boozy Cherry Yule Log. Head over to our Instagram profile here to see a picture of what they'll be serving up this December (Look out for the Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Christmas Trees - yum!)

I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with the Daffodil Hotel's afternoon tea and would recommend it to each and every one of you. For the quality and quantity of food available, it offers exceptional value for money, with prices marked at; Cream Tea (£8.95pp) Afternoon Tea (£19.50pp) and Light Afternoon Tea (£13.95pp) respectively. When comparing this to similar hotels both on a local and national scale, the Daffodil definitely fares well - check them out next time you're in the lakes and let us know what you think!

Tea is available from 12pm daily in the hotel's lounge or restaurant.

For more information, gift vouchers and booking, visit the Daffodil Hotel website:

*Prices correct at time of writing

Whilst we were provided with a complementary afternoon tea for review, all thoughts and opinions are our own!


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery Review

I quite like receiving mail; letters, magazine subscriptions, coupons (bills are another story) but without a doubt the best thing to have come through my letter box this month was cake.

To our excitement, a little box of treats was delivered by the wonderful Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery, who sent each of us a batch of their popular Mini Megs cake collection.

The bakery is based in the village of Blackwell, Warwickshire and uses primarily locally sourced ingredients to create traditional and delicious cakes, biscuits and tray bakes which can be delivered to and scoffed in the comfort of your own home!

First off all, the cakes arrive in a sophisticated and pretty presentation box and are each individually wrapped to keep them fresh on their travels.

The large Mini Megs selection includes six flavours; two chocolate, two hazelnut, two salted caramel, lemon polenta, cherry, and ginger - a perfect mix of flavours so everyone’s sure to find something they love. For us that was the hazelnut and lemon polenta, baked to perfection and full of texture and flavour, shortly followed by the very chocolately chocolate cake - because who doesn’t love chocolate cake?

We managed to sample all flavours with a little help from our friends - if you were looking for a seal of approval, I think the fact that some of these keen taste-testers were immediately eyeing up the Meg River’s Christmas gift sets, is a good enough indication.

The large Mini Megs set is available to order for delivery for £22.00, which we think is totally worth it for nine quality cakes. Plus we recommend taking a peek at the gift collections for some great gift ideas for your loved ones or yourself - oh it is Christmas after all! - (Laura)

For more info, visit:

We were kindly provided with complementary products for review, but as usual all thoughts and opinions are our own!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Charlotte in the City: Cantonese afternoon tea at Le Chinois, Millennium Hotel, Knightsbridge

It’s the unexpected that makes an afternoon tea memorable, and the doughy BBQ pork buns at Le Chinois, served in place of scones, are what did it for me. Stodgy, sweet and much bigger than bitesize they were the perfect half way point treat. 

The creation of 28-year-old head chef Anthony Kong, it's a fusion of classic cantonese dishes and english tradition. Of course, Chinese tea is recommended, but if that's not your thing, a pot of English breakfast can easily be brewed.

Savouries that graced the table included crispy battered chicken, shredded duck spring rolls, and sautéed prawns coated with wasabi - no finger sandwiches here - but if it’s cake that usually calls you to the tea stand, you’ll be left wanting. The freshly sliced mango and mochi cakes (a chewy rice cake with a glutinous filling) aren’t nearly as enticing as a slice of lovely lemon drizzle.

For those unfamiliar with cantonese cuisine, the waiting staff are well versed. They'll explain the best order to eat everything if you ask, which I recommend, as the ingredients and flavours will compliment each other nicely - and don't drown everything in chilli and plum sauce!

Although the environment is a little corporate, the Sloane Street restaurant has the kudos of a Knightsbridge postcode, but without the SW1X price tag – all of this, plus a glass of fizz, is £25.

For more information about Le Chinois and booking, please visit their website

Charlotte Vowden is a travel & lifestyle journalist who is as happy in the mountains as she is sipping champagne and eating cake. Writing for The Sunday Times keeps her busy but she’s always looking for her next adventure or afternoon tea destination.
Twitter: @charlottevowden

Charlotte was provided with a complementary meal for review purposes, however all opinions are her own!
Prices correct at time of review.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Tower Ballroom, Blackpool

Blackpool rock, The Illuminations, The Big One - there are many things that Blackpool is famous for but perhaps the biggest one, the one you spot first when driving up from the M55, is the iconic Blackpool Tower. Last month, we took a trip to the seaside to visit this historic landmark for a spot of Afternoon Tea. Cue ballroom dancers, finger sandwiches and something called a Wurlitzer.

Tea is taken in the Tower Ballroom where tables surround the dance floor which is in full swing with couples waltzing away to the Tower’s resident organist - a particularly exciting sight for these two Strictly Come Dancing fans! The decor here is spectacular, the details are so rich and ornate brushed with golds and deep reds, it really makes you feel as though you’ve been swept away to a completely different time. 

The tables are already set with blue traditional style wares and guests are allotted an hour and 30 minutes sitting and a choice of teas or coffee to start, we opted for pots of both. 

There’s something so northern about this experience, the finger sandwiches are simple, laid back, “everyone’s favourite” kind of flavours presented alongside a handful of salted crisps, they’re not super fancy deconstructed creations that you might find in a London hotel, but that’s perfect for this place and set amongst the backdrop of one of the most beautiful venues you could ever hope to visit, it’s already got the upper hand. Flavours include a range of ham, beef and cheese - caution, these sandwiches do go quite heavy on the cheese so if you’re not a fan, it’s probably worth mentioning so in your booking for an alternative. For us, we would have liked some salmon or chicken fillings but there was plenty to pick from regardless. 

Sandwiches are followed shortly by a large fruit scone each, accompanied by individual jams and huge dollop of clotted cream and finally a range of miniature sweets including; chocolate tiffin, strawberry and cream meringue, honeycomb and fudge bite, and a fruit tart. It’s a really pretty and balanced mix of cakes, none of which are too heavy, and our favourite had to be the sweet and light meringue.

We left feeling nicely full and ready to go score some tokens in the famous seafront arcades. Overall, this tea is pleasantly informal and there’s a unique atmosphere to be found here, something that remained throughout our visit with the hall steadily full of people. It’s quite magical to think that every weekend, there are hundreds of people spending their afternoons twirling around in a grand ballroom and stopping to partake in something as simple as finger sandwiches and tea. We’re so glad we got to experience it, and highly recommend that you do too. 

Tea for Two is priced at £50. For more information and to book visit:

Whilst we were provided with a complementary afternoon tea for review, all thoughts and opinions are our own!


Monday, 3 October 2016

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Claridges, London

Okay, so I'm a bit late with this one, but better late then never, eh?

If I'm honest I couldn't decide whether to post or not, as my photos were all a little dark. However, I've had a play in Photoshop and they're now at a *reasonable* enough standard to share.

So what did I think of Claridges? 

Cards on the table, I was a little underwhelmed. The room and ambiance were both incredible and exactly what I'd hoped for, with chandeliers, squishy armchairs and a grand piano to boot, but there was something a little disappointing about the food. Don't get me wrong, it was nice enough, but for the price I wanted better than 'nice enough' - I wanted the best afternoon tea I'd ever had!

Perhaps I was expecting too much, or perhaps I've been over-exposed to the many more 'experimental' teas out there, but it just didn't rock my world. I'm usually a bit of a stickler for tradition and love the simple classics, however I found Claridges to be almost traditional to a fault. It's hard to explain, but after sampling Cherish Finden's tea at the Langham a couple of weeks previously, I went to Claridges with similar expectations of delicate showcase sandwiches and cakes.

That said, I wouldn't want you to think that it's not worth a look because I actually had a lovely time. The service was prefect, the food limitless and the crockery, some of the prettiest you'll find in London.

I think if you're looking for absolute tradition or a taste of British quintessence at one of the UKs premier establishments, then you can't go far wrong with Claridges!

Have you ever been to Claridges? What did you think?

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