Wilton Place, Knightsbridge
London SW1X 7RL
Now that we are solidly into the colder and darker autumn months everything seems that little bit harder. The early mornings, the late nights, drizzle and darkness make everything that ickle bit more complicated. Balancing bags and umbrellas on the tube enclosed by icky condensation-steamed windows is never an inviting prospect. Buuuut it has got to be done, and that’s life. But is it really all doom and gloom? Well, no not really! This week I had my first insight into hard city life graft. Eat. Sleep. Work. Repeat. With the stress related psoriasis flaring back up and sleep disturbed nights it has been far from easy. But come Friday night and worries seem to momentarily flutter away (simultaneously with that month’s pay cheque!). Work hard,
party relax hard!
Obviously going contactless crazy isn’t a weekly occurrence and to be quite honest I haven’t bought a single thing since I started working full time! BUT treating yourself (and others!) once in a while is a must. This weekend has been bookmarked in the diary since March. Tiff and and I wanted to take the mums for afternoon tea at the Berkeley for a day of pure indulgence for Mother’s Day. Would you believe that this weekend has been the first weekend that we were all free since spring time!! To celebrate the special occasion we decided to go full out – Miller and Goodman style.
Commuting back from London on a Friday night to go back again the next day is never tempting. So mum with her magical contacts managed to wangle us two free rooms in the CitizenM hotel in the city centre. After an evening meal at Coq D’argent we were ready to crash after a long week in the modern and quirky stopover.
The CitizenM is a really cool hotel and ideal for anyone coming to visit London. The rooms are all managed by iPads that control the lighting and media system. Just make sure you don’t leave your techno-incompetent Mum controlling the lights with the iPad whilst you are in the toilet!
After a good night’s sleep and a quick morning breaky we hit the shops. Or shall I say shop, as we never made it out of Harrods. Living so close to London we never really get to do all the touristy things that the city has to offer but top of the list is spending hours in these amazing department stores.
The highlights have got to be the Patisserie, the Boulangerie, the Tea and Coffee and the Exotic fruits section. The star finds of the trip included buying an Australian born beauty the Cronut and splashing out on a Dragon Fruit which came all the way from Vietnam. This fruit you can get for peanuts on the market stalls out there but you don’t even want to know how much I paid for one here – *cough cough* £8!!!! They are so delish though!
The treat-filled day didn’t end there as we pranced our way over to The Berkeley. I would like to think of myself as an expert when it comes to Afternoon Tea and I have to say that this is one of THE BEST ones I have had. The playful fashionista theme does not mean that flavours are compromised and the savouries, sweets and teas live up to the price you pay. By all means at £52 per person it isn’t cheap BUT it is worth every bite.
You will be made to feel like a princess as soon as you enter the revolving doors. Pretty woman style the gentlemen help you with your bags up the stairs and to the cloakroom. Leave your coats, bags, luggage, shopping bags and goodness knows what else in the safe hands of the staff at the hotel and head on over to the lovely lavish Berkeley Bar before your afternoon tea. It is worth getting there well ahead of your reservation to enjoy all the surroundings of the Hotel – it isn’t everyday you get to truly indulge!
Once your hunger twinge grows a little more unbearable, totter over to The Collins Room where your afternoon tea awaits. Comfy sofas and chairs make up your cosy sweet hub for the next few hours. For anyone who is looking for an afternoon tea that verges off the the beaten track a little bit then you will not be disappointed. If you were expecting scones and the finest teas then you should probably stick with Fortnum and Masons. The Berkeley, however, has different specialities up its sleeve.
The indulgent feast begins with a selection of fine savouries accompanied by your choice of unlimited tea, coffee or hot chocolate. The tea list isn’t extensive but you will find a limited selection of Black, White and Green teas as well as a few Oolongs and Tisanes. The Lemon and Ginger Tisane is lovely and refreshing (and perfect for a sore throat 🙁 *feeling sorry for myself*).
Each guest will receive an individual plate of savouries bursting with varied flavours. The best of the bunch include a spinach and feta muffin, a beetroot gazpacho shot, succulent mini tuna filets and a beef brioche bun.
Once you have polished off course 1 – why not ask for more!? I always say, for the posh London Hotel afternoon teas, you can always ask for more. Don’t be shy, you are paying over the odds so you might as well get the most out of it! But be sure to save room for the stylish sweets to come. Even though you don’t get scones with this afternoon tea, they are by no means missed. I would much rather be munching on Burberry coats, Jimmy choo pumps and Moschino bags! It is the only way I can afford to be near one after all!
The sweet treats at The Berkeley change every 6 months to reflect the fashions of that season. The three tiered stand featured appearances from: Dolce and Gabbana, Jason Wu, Manolo Blahnik, Burberry, Charlotte Olympia, Simone Rocha, Nicholas Kirkwood, Jimmy Choo, Lanvin and Moschino. All in different shapes, styles and forms: pannacotta, biscuits, éclair, sponge, ganache cake etc.
For the sweet delights pair up your palate with a Asam Black Tea or the Earl Grey (my recommendations!) Or if you want something fruity the Blackcurrant and Hibiscus Tisane is also lovely. If tea isn’t really your ‘thing’ then opt of a stylish Cappuccino or a hot chocolate for the little’ns. Remember you can order, swap and change your drinks as much as you like so try as many different teas as you can handle! It is inevitable that you may not finish all the food – especially if you have ordered two rounds like we did. So do make sure you ask for a goodie bag – waste not, want not! 🙂
Everyone deserves to feel like a princess (or prince!) once in a while. We all work hard and the days roll into weeks and the weeks roll into years and before we know it is Christmas again! Do NOT even get me started on the appearance of xmas goodies in the shops ALREADY!! It is sickening. Outrageous actually. Quite appalling. But this is what happens every year and before we know it life is passing us by and we don’t stop to enjoy it enough. So please all do me a favour and book yourself in some time of pure indulgence. It doesn’t have to be pricey and it doesn’t have to be revolved around Tea (although it should be 😉 ), whatever takes your fancy. There is something to be said for taking some chilax time out at the weekend, with loved ones, nattering endlessly, and momentarily letting your worries and woes drift away…
These moments are priceless. Sometimes yes they can be pricey but don’t feel guilty about spending your hard-earned cash when you truly deserve it. If you are looking for a splash out treat then the Berkeley definitely wins my 5 teacup rating!
Happy price(-y)less indulgence all!
This season’s fine treats and The Berkeley:
- Dolce and Gabbana’s duo of blackcurrant bavarois and star anise pannacotta, topped with chocolate owl dress design.
- Jason Wu’s romantic cherry bavarois and coconut cream topped with playful pink skirt and biscuit heel.
- Manolo Blahnik’s Hangisi quintessential pointy toe stiletto ginger biscuit.
- Burberry’s classic trench coat chocolate biscuit with creamy royal icing.
Charlotte Olympia’s dramatic cinnamon biscuit boot with black and red icing.
- Simone Rocha’s ethereal embroidered tulle dress vanilla célair filled with salted caramel crème patissière.
- Nicholas Kirkwood’s pearl pump sachertorte layered with raspberry, chocolate ganache and Valrhona crémeux topped with delicate silver pearls
Jimmy Choo’s glittery gala pointed-toe shoe velvet praline cream cake with hazelnut croquant and sweetheart bow.
- Lanvin’s almond sponge, honeycomb and chocolate mousse draped with a light meringue ruffle.
- Moschino’s blood orange Victoria sponge ‘yellow M’ handbag encased in red choco