Posted on

Afternoon tea with AlTEAtude!

For months on end we all thought the same thing – have they finished it yet?

That spikey top that just looked perpetually unfinished. Little did we know, that was the artistic ingenious of it – the top is meant to look like ‘shards’ of glass piercing the skyline of London. I get it. It’s cool. It has grown on me.

The glistening Shard has most certainly become a British icon over the last few years. The night-lit sky just won’t look the same without it, I think us Brits have become quite fond of the Empiresque State Building. Until last week, I have to admit that I had never ventured up the Shard, nor had it particularly appealed to me. Now if you ask me what are the top things to do in London, hopping up The Shard for a glimpse of London from above would be on my ‘to-do’ list.


The View from The Shard is definitely worth a visit. Located on the 69th and 72nd floors are the viewing galleries. One enclosed,the other in the open air protected by those ‘shards’. With a food and drink stall located within these areas, camping out on the floors taking in the views is definitely a weekend treat not to miss.

If you are there for a while, don’t forget to go to the toilet – an odd recommendation I know. But, trust me, you won’t want to miss this view from the loo, literally!


The toilets even have phone chargers next to them – as if you would be on the loo for that long!? I know weird but pretty cool nonetheless! And, for the best bit, the toilet seats are heated! :O This place oozes luxury!


Of course though what I am really here to tell you about is the afternoon tea experience with alteatude.

For those who have been to The Shard this will come as I am sure a relatable sentiment, and for those who haven’t a gentle caveat. Booking afternoon tea at THE Shard is quite difficult; difficult in the sense that there isn’t just one place to visit. The Shard should actually be renamed ‘The Shards’ since there are many different restaurants and bars located within the building. For afternoon tea you can in fact sip your cuppa within the Aqua Shard, Ting or Gong. For a contemporary spin on the classic afternoon tea head to the Aqua Shard on the 31st floor. For a luxurious afternoon tea head to the Gong, located on the 52nd floor. For an Asian twist on the classic afternoon tea head to the Ting on the 32nd floor.

This just means we have to make sure we venture back to all of them – right!? 🙂 This time round we went to The Ting, an afternoon tea that will be sure to give you a scrummy Asian infused experience.


The afternoon got off to a slow start to say the least. Our table wasn’t ready in time and we did have to wait 45 minutes until we were offered even a glass of water 🙁 It was slowly turning into an afternoon with atTEAtude! However, we eventually got our menus and decided that we would get one classic stand and one Asian stand – so we could share of course! We were told we could order another complimentary round of savouries, scones and sweets if we wanted – delight to our hungry bellies that had now been waiting nearly an hour before a cuppa came into sight!


Our tea eventually came (oh and the bubbles for mother!). The milky China oolong tea is definitely worth a try, it was extremely refreshing on the palate, perfect for a hot day. The Shangri-La speciality breakfast tea was also very smooth – one of the nicest I have tasted in a long time. Your tea is also served with a stunning strainer, I have never seen anything quite like it before.


To accompany our beverages, a dry ice display was laid out in front of us. Extremely well done and impressive, all contributing to the Asian inspired atmosphere of the afternoon – just a shame we were not greeted with this straight away. We were already by this point feeling fed up and hungry. Luckily the tea was to die for!

Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 22.25.42

Our food finally came and at this point we could appreciate how stunning the atmosphere and views were. The pianist was sensational, mesmerising, as we sat back and munched away. The Asian inspired savouries were de-li-scious! Savoury alternatives to your standard finger sandwiches are definitely on the trend these days. Spring rolls, crab tarts and such like accompanied by a peanut satay sauce nom nom. The full menu can be found here. We polished the plate and happily ordered another, as indicated we could, we also requested fresh tea. Little did we know we would have to wait a further 30mins before we had to ask again for more tea and our fresh round of savouries. By the time they eventually came we had already surrendered into the scones – a bit of a shame.


I will, however, skirt around the prolonged waiting times giving the benefit of doubt. Perhaps a lack of staff and recent events around the area had disturbed the service. Luckily, Sebastian, a delightfully chirpy chap saved the day and could not have been more attentive. Service you expect to find at a 5 * hotel.


Would I recommend going to The Shard for afternoon tea? Yes, I would. The food was great – I could not fault it – and I loved the Asian twist. Dining with breath-taking views of the City is definitely not one to miss. However, if views ‘don’t really do it for you’ and you would prefer not to venture to high alteatudes then I would save yourself the trip. I have had better afternoon teas in different venues across the capital – where the food AND service are both top notch. The Goring, Fortnum and Mason and The Berkeley are yet to be beaten in my opinion.

Want a more real life experience about our trip to The Ting for afternoon tea? Check it out on YouTube now! Here is a sneak unedited preview to give you a taster of the atmosphere and menu 🙂

YouTube tutorials and reviews are new to Hopscoff so please let me know what you think. If you like the videos don’t forget to hit that big thumbs up button and subscribe to my channel! Leave comments and share as many of you kindly do anyway 🙂


Have a beau-TEA-ful day!


Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 22.25.56

Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 22.27.20

Posted on

The Tiny Teapot

The Tiny Teapot

23 High St, Biddenden, Ashford TN27 8AL

07817 375475

5 teacups

So it has been a while since I have posted a review about local places that serve some finger-licking-good sandwiches, some scrummy scones and some tempting treats. This most certainly doesn’t mean that I haven’t been hopping around, it just means I have been doing a lot more scoffing than I have writing so I have a bit of catching up to do 🙂

I have my tea next to me and am ready to fire away, so hold on to your slippers….


Today’s post sends us to Biddenden home to The Tiny Teapot tearoom, which is indeed very teeny tiny. Whilst some keen afternoon tea connoisseurs are not fans of extremely intimate settings, others will go to the ends of the earth to find the cutest places to sit in and natter away.  Based on the quaint high street of Biddenden, The Tiny Teapot is the most perfect cosy setting and is often frequented by locals and passersby. Just opposite the road there is a traditional pub and a lovely Michelin star restaurant, and the calibre of the tearoom most certainly matches.


The tearoom has quite a few tables inside and the odd one outside for if you manage to nab it up on a sunny day. The decor inside is traditionally vintage with lace table covers and the quaint feel continues with little teapots hanging from the ceiling and blackboards displaying the extensive menu. The menu is certainly big enough to offer lots of variety which I wasn’t expecting from this petite place.



In the end I had to sample the afternoon tea. What I love most about afternoon teas is the variety – you get a bit of savoury, a bit of sweet and a bit of scone that straddles in between 🙂 I also had to go for the full shebang as Josh picked the afternoon tea and I often suffer from food jealousy and end up stealing his 😉 We did choose different cakes though with the idea of ‘sharing’ them both. In hindsight this never goes down well – inevitably we both end up liking the same one an incyyy bit more!


What I find so refreshing about afternoon teas away from the capital is that you can ask for ‘non-traditional’ afternoon tea things like squash woo 🙂 On a warm day I need something to quench the thirst before I dive into the tea and I don’t think you could ever ask for squash in Fortnum and Masons 😉 At the Tiny Teapot you will get nothing less than a smile if you ask for whatever is on the menu – regardless of your age!

Another pleasant surprise about the afternoon tea at The Tiny Teapot was that you got served a slab of cake of your choice. Petite patisseries that are normally served with most afternoon teas are excellent to get a variety of flavours to try but sometimes you just know what you want 😉


So if you are in the area or fancy a little trip out, hop along to the Tiny Teapot. I have given it a 5 teacup rating; I thought it was great value for great food and a lovely setting. You know what they say, all good things come in small packages 😉

Have a beau-TEA-ful day!


5 teacups

Posted on

I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Sanderson

50 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NG

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 00.56.09

It is fair to say that my trip to the Sanderson Hotel for afternoon tea was long overdue. I had been waiting to experience the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for what seemed like forever. Yet, ‘how long is forever? Sometimes just a second‘. With Spring upon us and Mother’s Day looming, it was the perfect excuse to hop along and taster all of Alice’s potions and lotions.

Unfortunately, the Mother’s day afternoon tea came with a bit of a premium which wasn’t justifiable with the quite underwhelming entrance and lack of attentive staff. Therefore, my first top hopscoff tip is don’t go on a Bank Holiday or for Mother’s Day, you will be charged an additional £10 for nada. At the standard price of £48, you must still expect to pay a fair amount. Yet, for the creativity of the afternoon (which I have yet to find elsewhere in London) I don’t think this is unreasonable for a special treat. The whole experience is playfully scrumptious and will leave you right up to your bursting threshold.

Upon arrival you will be thrown straight into the rabbit-hole, fumbling around trying to work out what to do and how to order. It turns out that the book on the table is actually a menu – just make sure your mum doesn’t put it on the table next to you as soon as you sit down thinking it was a bible! The napkin most certainly sums us up…



Once you have crawled out of that hole you dug yourself in, you will feel like Alice herself testing and smelling all the teas on offer that at just screaming one thing at you – DRINK ME! The best thing about London afternoon teas is the tea is unlimited and you can tester and trial as much and as many different teas you like – we of course sampled all of them. Our favorites were the Cheshire Cat and Queen of Hearts  which are both infused with chocolate tones.

Once we were waiting for our teas to arrive, our plates of savoury goods came. Having missed breakfast and lunch we were somewhat quite hungry and were a bit shocked when we were just presented with this…


… I think my year 5 school lunches were bigger than that! We slowly nibbled our way through the lot (the smoked salmon, quail egg and caviar scotch egg was to die for!) and at this point no tea had arrived 🙁 After some more nattering the lovely gentlemen brought our tea and did explain to us that we could order as many rounds as we liked and our sweets and scones would be served separately – thank goodness! The beautifully presented teapots and refreshing tea kept us pleasantly entertained in the meantime.


The afternoon tea stand was the part that we had been waiting for. It certainly does not disappoint and you will even find edible treasures hiding in the grass growing out of the teacup. The attention to detail is unreal and flavours are certainly not compromised.


Now, with any afternoon tea I always expect to have scones. For every passionate afternoon tealover there are always two big mind-boggling questions: 1) fruit or plain scone? and 2) jam or clotted cream first? My answers are fruit and jam! However, the Sanderson was not thinking along my wavelength 🙁 Each guest was only presented with one plain scone and just one tiny pot of jam to share. I did, however, immediately ask for more jam as I do plaster it on!

All this having been said, these scones were by far the nicest scones I think I have ever tested – and I have tasted quite a few in my time 🙂 They came out so fresh and warm; they just melted in your mouth.

I am also not a big fan of clotted cream, but the Sanderson clotted cream was pumped with something uuuber delicious. By this point, half an hour had passed from when I asked for extra jam and to be honest I hadn’t really thought much of it. The young gentleman was so apologetic that he came over with an abundant supply of jam and two extra scones to apologise! This was of course a bonus for us but also a a downfall in disguise – we were both getting full yet couldn’t leave the fresh scones! Eating my way through another scone seemed impossible at the time but ‘sometimes I’ve believed in 6 impossible things before breakfast‘.  The impossible became the possible.. and more.. mum left half a scone and I had to eat that one as well.These scones were not to be scoffed at, just scoffed up!

Moving onto the ickle treats, I only wish I had more room to munch away at them all, but I had reached my limit. They were so beautifully presented that you could even gain pleasure by just looking at them. To top it all off, we were given an extra little treat towards the end – a passion fruit flowerpot ice cream topped with Oreo crumbs and honeycomb shards.


After a long overdue wait to attend the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed. The tea and food could not be faulted. Highlights included the gorgeous scones, the scrummy scotch egg and the tasty tea! We left pleasantly stuffed and rolled ourselves out with a little goodie bag of leftovers. The hopscoff review would have given the afternoon tea four teacups if only it wasn’t for long waiting times and lack of attentiveness. Don’t let the three teacup rating put you off though, do give it a go! It may just be me being ‘entirely bonkers. But, I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are‘ 😉

Happy Wonderland exploring!


Posted on

Price(-y)less indulgence!

The Berkeley
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge
London SW1X 7RL

5 teacups

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!

Enjoying a glass of wine (or an elderflower and apple juice for me!) at The Berkeley Bar.

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!

5 teacups

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
Posted on

No plan survives contact with the enemy…

Nothing ever really goes to plan, right? Well, thats what German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke also thought when he quite bluntly put it that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Translated into simpler terms for us lesser beings, everything we try hard to plan quite generally always goes to pot! This is something I learnt during my 48 hours at Sandhurst, oh yes the initial officer training grounds for the British Army. What was I doing there? Learning all about teamwork and leadership as part of my induction week for my new job. So what has the British Army and Banking got to do with Travel, Tea and Cake? Good question! And I think I will have to get back to you with an answer in about 5 years time…

Since being back from Australia my plan was to have plenty of time to blog loads and tell you all about my travels. The reality turned into quite the opposite and within four weeks I have only managed to churn out two posts. So what have I been up to? Well, the more suitable question would be what haven’t I been up to! Well in a nutshell…

Week 1: Salisbury, Bath and Oxford

Less than 24hours after I landed back into England from Australia I made my way down to Salisbury to visit my Argentinian family who were staying there for a few weeks. Within one week I hopped over to Southampton, Bath and Oxford. Spending time in Salisbury involved eating a lot of Cinnamon Swirls, my all time fav, and that spurred me on to try out my own recipe once I was back in Kent!

Week 2: The Emma Bridgewater Factory, family, friends and tearoom visits

The highlight of my second week back in the UK was of course a trip to the Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke with the bestie Miriam! We made a complete day of it, mug painting, factory touring and of course tea drinking and cake eating!

The week also consisted of many family BBQs and birthdays, more baking and oh yeah playing netball! So I have now joined a netball team after 10 years of not having played! My first game involved a lot of fouls and footwork mistakes – whoooppsss! 😀

I of course managed to squeeze in a few tearoom visits. Josh and I went to The Tiny Teapot in Biddenden which lived up to all expectations and was indeed tiny! I then found myself BACK to Oxford to say farewell to my dear friend Florrie who has now moved to Mexico 🙁 We went to the recently opened Barefoot Cafe which was fab!

Week 3: an intense Cake Decorating Course in Greenwich

So what is the done thing to do before you start a two year graduate scheme with a bank? Go on an intense 7 day course in cake decorating and techniques – of course! 😉 All jokes aside, this is something that I had been thinking about doing for a long time and I am *so* glad I did. It really allowed me to be uber creative and fuelled my passion for cake making. Now I am very eager to take it to that next level. So if you are after a celebration cake or cupcakes, give me a call! 😀

Week 4: started my full time job in Landaaannn

My first week at work has consisted of a variety of different activities the biggest surprise being a trip to Sandhurst training camp! I am now left with a few scratches on my elbows and knees from the assault courses but the 48 hours there were fab! My average wakeup time over the last week has been 5:45am, but I think/hope that things will be a bit less intense this week…

…I have been squeezing in teas and sleeps when I can…

(would you believe that today was the first day in one month that I was able to wake up without an alarm which is quite insane!)

… and the odd bit of baking!

I think it will always baffle me how I am able to cram so much random stuff into my life in such a short space of time. The amount I have done in one month kinda scares me and makes me think what I could do in a year… If I had a bit of money 😉 The reality is that I now have to work! But who knows what I will be doing in a few years time… The key is, there is no point planning that out. All plans change. Yet, I do know one thing is for sure, I will always need an element of tea, travel and cake in my life!! 😀

Have an unplanned and spontaneous day!


All recipes (cinnamon swirls, cupcakes, caramel drip cake, blueberry muffins) will go up shortly!! …When I get a moment :D!

Posted on

Blooming Beaches 

Whilst it is supposedly summer here in the UK, the other side of the globe is in the middle of winter.  I did have initial reservations about travelling to Australia during the cooler months but even though it was cold in Sydney, it had nothing on our drizzly grey British January. The clear blue skies left you with that ‘oh it’s lovely and fresh’ sensation. That winter fresh feeling is one that us Brits are not acclimatised to. You will know what I mean if you have gone on a pre or post xmas city break to another country in Europe. You don’t mind the piercing cold because there isn’t a cloud in sight and the sun shines so bright you still wear your sunnies and sit outside to watch the world go by.
Despite it being winter in Oz, blooming flowers nor trips to the beach are put on hold! Soaking up the winter rays strolling around Sydney’s finest gardens and beaches are a must do on any visit down under. Whilst you are in London’s cleaner, sunnier and better half, there are a few hopscoff recommendations of things to do (and eat and drink!).

In Sydney one of the main tourist attractions is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb where you get fantastic views of the harbour, the Sydney Opera house and the Sydney Skyline no matter what time of the year it is. This is a must do and you will not be left disappointed!

Make sure you are well watered and fed before though as the climb will take approx 4 hours! There are some cute cafes to visit before you begin your knee shaking ascend to the top. Among these include The Tea Cosy, The Rocks Cafe or the Aussie famous Guylian Cafe. If you are lucky enough to grab a seat, Pancakes on the Rocks is also a very popular stop for both savoury and sweet pancakes.

In the distance, next to the Sydney Opera House you will see the Botanical Gardens. Follow the Harbour all the way around through the gardens to reach Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, a lookout point to get a view of Sydney’s top two icons.


Taking time to stroll through the gardens is definitely worth it – just make sure you dodge the runners that are out about at all times of the day!


Next on the to-do-list in Sydney has got to be the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. Or if you like to go against the grain like me, the Coogee to Bondi path 😉  This famous walk will take you past many of Sydney’s finest beaches and in the summer months I can imagine this 6km walk taking you all day as you periodically stop for a dip and a sunbathe. Being a bit on the chilly side, this walk took me just under 2 hours and I sandwiched it in between two must visit fuel stops. The first is Coogee Pavilion located on Coogee Beach, funnily enough! It’s dazzling decor and scrummy menu is perfect for a pre or post walk stop. I opted for a pre-walk sticky chai tea which was delish. Whether you come here for brunch or just a caffeine stop you will have a whale of a time!

The walk was extremely peaceful and there was hardly a soul insight. Again, I can imagine this path being chocka in the summer months. Along the way you will get some stunning views and the end of the path will bring you to the famous Bondi Beach.

After snapping away and taking my time to look at the wall art at Bondi, hunger pangs suddenly struck! They began to increase as rapidly as my overdraft expenditure. There was suddenly no time to gorp over Aussie lifeguards…brunch was calling! Located on the North end of Bondi Beach you will find Speedo’s Cafe… the epicentre of coolness in Bondi. The menu is vast offering healthy smoothies and breakfast bowls, avotoast and eggs and also something sweeter for those in need of an urgent sugar rush.


Avotoast with halloumi and poached eggs and a Morning Energiser Smoothie


Nutella Syringe Cronuts :O

Ah the cronut! This is a marvellous creation that kicked off in NYC and is starting to make its way to London although it is not yet well established. It is however well known across Sydney and it is a beautiful match made in heaven of a donut and a croissant! This Nutella cronut from Speedo’s cafe looked heavenly bad! I only wished I had had enough room to eat one 🙁

If you are in Sydney and on the hunt for the best cronuts in town, go to Brewtown Newtown. This coffee hideout is out of the centre in Newtown but it is worth a visit. I had the banoffee cronut but there were so many to choose from!

Last but certainly not least on the Hopscoff Sydney reccomendation list is a visit to The Grounds of Alexandria. The only way to describe this place is a flower power non-cheesy 70s farmland. Equipped with flowers, food, tea and coffee what is there not to like!? The only way to really capture this place is through photos. And even photos do not do it justice…

Take a weekend stroll over to The Grounds to catch the Farmer’s Market and to stop and have brunch…

…and a teamonade!! 😀

…or hot tea?!…


…and maybe a cake…


..and lastly a donut! 😀


Have a blooming marvellous day!



Posted on

Down under!? More like above and beyond! 

For those who have been following @hopscoff on Instagram and Facebook you would have clocked that I have spent the last month in Oz. Finally with some decent internet and a bit of time on my hands I am able to begin to share some Aussie news and this brings me right back to Sydney… I’m not sure about Finding Nemo or Finding Dory, but stepping off the train in the centre of town for the first time was more like Finding Sydney! Coming out of Townhall station to the chiming of the BigBen-esque clock sent me whirling into a jetlagged time warp where I thought I had gone full circle back to London. Mind you, the journey was definitely long enough to have made that feasible!

Here you can find all of London’s finest: Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Kings Cross and even red post boxes and Woolworths!

Ah, but if you stop looking left and right and look down you will find clean streets. A clear sign that this is not London. And if you look up you will see nothing but a winter blue sunny sky without a cloud in sight – again a wonderful reminder that this is not London. If fact, it appears that Sydney has got one step up on our beloved capital. They haven’t just taken our postboxes and street names but they have plonked them in a beautiful beach surrounded city. I wish our Oxford Street sent us to Bondi Beach instead of to Primark!

Yes, send us to Bondi please!

To top it all off they have even adopted our tea drinking culture! And I have to tell you that they don’t just matcha it, they have pourred us over. Slammed dunked those sugar cubes in our faces!

Here you will find tearooms and coffee fit for every occasion. They have your most typically exquisite tearooms, located in the most beautiful buildings, that appear more British than the Ritz itself! The Queen Victoria Building quickly became my favourite location to spend a good hour or so just walking about gorping at the architecture and beautiful boutiques…and squeezing in a cuppa of course!

The Strand Shopping Arcade – a bit fancier than our Strand!
Drinking tea like the Queen at the Tea Palace in the QVB

To find the up-to-date caffeine trends of a place I always nose in Starbucks. I am allergic to chain coffee shops BUT I always go in to buy the famous city mugs. I now have quite an extensive collection. Okay so it may be a strange item to collect but at least the mugs are practical, I mean what does a magnet do!?


I find that the Starbucks menu always reflects the food and beverage habits of the city it is in. On the Aussie one, the Chai Latte and Matcha Latte is quite popular among locals but it is yet to successfully reach the radar in London.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Matcha is a fine Japanese green tea powder that can be whisked with water or mixed with milk to form a milky green tea. The powder can also be used to make sweet treats as well like matcha brownies… but let’s stick to the basics for now! Ah, if I have gone too far ahead, a Chai Latte is a milky Indian black tea made with spices like cinnamon. In Australia both the Chai Latte and Chai Tea are popular choices. The difference? The Chai Latte is served with steamed milk to give you the same sensation as a frothy Latte. Coffee chains like Costa and Starbucks as well as your independents are now offering the Chai Latte here in the UK. But beware! It may often be made with Chai syrup which just shouldn’t even be legal. It is so tooth numbingly sweet it will make your pores ooze sugar. So just check before you order 🙂

It’s Chai time!

For the caffeine compromised folk like myself who equally love tea and coffee the Tea Lattes are the perfect option. Their flavoursome frothiness leaves you slightly fuller than what a tea would and gives you bursts of flavour.

Unfortunately, I’m yet to find a place in London like Sydney’s The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar! Their Tea Latte list is endless. In the end I opted for the Berry Bomb Latte. And I found myself walking away with several tea pouches – my loose leaf Aussie Tea collection began to rapidly grow in Sydney!

I wish I could say this is ALL I had bought by day 3 of my trip, but that would be a blatant lie 😉 I thought I was going to get stopped at the border for tea smuggling!!
The Rabbit Hole’s Berry Bombtastic Tea Latte with a Lavender Shortbread

As well as the Tea Lattes it had quickly become apparent to me that Australia is no stranger to loose leaf tea in general. And this was nothing but music to my ears. I didn’t  have many tea time experiences that involved a tea bag – British tearooms and coffee shops please take note! The onlyyyy snag is that quick tea takeaways are not a thing here! You won’t be able to quickly grab a tea for the road. My average waiting time for a tea take away was about 10 minutes!

By the end of my first day in Sydney I had already tracked down an Australian loose leaf chain called T2 whose teas are totealy amazing! The shop sells hundreds of varieties and cutesie tea accessories. For those in London there are a few stores accross the capital, so I’m told, so check them out 🙂 I highly recomend the go go goa which goes amazingly with almond milk and a bit of honey!


I spent 10 minutes thinking about how I was going to get a teapot home 😉

So with a tea scene hotter than what I’m used to back here in the UK – was there much point in coming back!? 😂 Well, who knows, but how could you not be happy living in a city with views like this…

…maybe I will be back one day 🙂

Have a latte-ly day folk!


Posted on

In or out?

Undoubtedly the most topical question of today is Brexit or Bremain? Should Brits have their brew inside the comfort of their home or outside!? 😉 Ah gotcha!

Tea drinking is not only a daily custom but an hourly one where kettle-switch-flicking can become a workout for (so)me! But the grand question is, is a home-brewed cuppa better than what any tearoom can offer you? The jury is out on this.  As this is my last few days ever in Cambridge as a graduand – oooo eerrr! 😉 – I thought it would be only apt to take a look at this hot teapic through some of Cambridge’s finest tearooms.

Lets begin with the cost factor. In case you haven’t already gathered, I am a huge tea fanatic. But admittedly, when I venture out for merienda, a teatime snack, it does often break my heart to pay extortionate rates for something I know I would equally enjoy at home for a drop of the price. The art is in the presentation. Bring me out fine silver or cute china teaware and I go weak at the knees. Bring me out a bog-standard mug with a tea bag thrown in, my heart plummets faster to the bottom than the suspicious-looking-Tetley-like package – ah the thought makes me shudder! In these moments of sheer disappointment I can’t help but think that I could have had unlimited amounts of tea at home in a my favourite mug for no money at all! But this may be the risk you take. If you are stopping by Cambridge and are adamant you want a teapot and loose leaf kind of job Harriets is your place to go!

Harriets Cafe Tearooms 

16-17 Green St, Cambridge CB2 3JU

5 teacups

Loose leaf or teabag? That is the question! If I am paying that slight bit extra I pray that I will be served loose leaf! Or, at most, that I get given a teapot. The Senate, funnily enough, opposite The Senate House, has recently opened up and they serve you tea in an oh so sleek Chinese style teapot. The food served is also scrummy and you cannot fault the view you get from the optimum people-watching spot.

The Senate 

1 St Mary’s Passage, Cambridge CB23PQ

5 teacups

If neither loose leaf nor teapot are available, you are probably thinking well I would have been better off staying at home then, or that there better be a good slab of cake to make up for it! Luckily, Cambridge is not short of tearooms that offer a wide selection of fine cakes. Even though Stickybeaks doesn’t serve you tea in loose leaf form nor with a teapot, their cakes are exquisite and there is always a wide selection available. If you are after that little bit extra and are verging on the hangry side of life, their lunches are also divine as well as their granola breakfast pots. If the sun is out, there are two tables outside at the front to nab if you are lucky. If you want a slightly different tea experience, try their Ice Tea it is refreshingly fineeee!


42 Hobson St, Cambridge CB1 1NL

5 teacups

When it becomes apparent that an out of home tea experience is no better, or in fact verging on worse, than what can be brewed up at home, many tea drinkers often flip to the deep dark world of coffee. Going out for coffee is a different ballgame all together. No fancy home coffee machine will ever give you that frothy artistic finish that a barista will serve up for you. Afternoon Tease, my all-time favourite tearoom in Cambridge has the best of all worlds. They will serve you tea in the cutest teapots and saucers and their coffee is also chap-licking good. If you are also looking for a never fail guaranteed delicious cake then it is your place to go. The brunch is also a must try at weekends. It is actually quiet embarrassing the amount of times I have been to this place and these are only a few snaps I have.

Afternoon Tease

13 King St, Cambridge CB1 1LH

5 teacups

So that is it folks, today take a moment to decide what is important about your brewtime today. Is it the cake? Is it the location? Is it the teaware? Whilst it is lovely to get out and about and have a change of scenery, the heart of afternoonteaing must surely remain at home? Today I am going back to basics and whilst, as you can see, I LOVE to go on tea/coffee drinking and cakescoffing trips, no where makes a cuppa better than I can! 😉


So today if you are pondering the question shall I stay IN or shall I go OUT? Put the kettle and stay indoors with your brew (at least just for today!) – vote REMAIN!

Have a EU-phorically good day!

Grab your favourite mug and enjoy the view from your bedroom window!







Posted on

Ice dreams!

I am beginning to surrender to the fact that tea is not so easily traceable in Greece. This having been said it is known world-wide for its coffee. In fact the Greeks are the ones Australia has to thank for the big coffee culture boom that has hit the country in recent years. I am looking forward to checking out all the caffeine hideouts when I’m there in two weeks time – eeeek! I have to admit that as well as a tea addict I am also a coffee lover but for me a mid-morning or afternoon coffee is a once a day occurrence often accompanied with a slab of cake. It doesn’t give me the consistent comfort and satisfaction that I get from tea throughout the day. You know, that warm fuzzy feeling as if someone is hugging you from the inside! 🙂 Tea just knows how to cater for all occasions. This having been said I have already grown accustomed to the morning habit of having a Greek coffee – ελληνικά style!! It is super strong but gives you a well needed kick to knock you out of that morning daze!

It is kind of like an espresso and in this heat I can see why you wouldn’t want to sit down with a large hot drink. Although they do say that hot drinks keep you cooler. Something about reducing the shock that cold drinks give your body which shut of the little soldiers that fight to keep you cool like sweat glands (in very technical terms of course 😉 ).

Despite all the science my palate is turning towards the refreshing polar end of the scale. I’m sorry to have to share with you that here in Greece it is scorchinnggggg. We have been tempted to try to fry eggs on our skin it is that hot. Actually I’m feeling kinda smug as I know that torrential rain has hit the UK this week #sorrynotsorry 🙂

Feast your eyes on this…

Greece is famous for its φραπές (frappé) comparable to a Starbucks frappucino or a Costa coffee cooler but better, in fact nada que ver! as the Argentines would say or in the cockney translation they have jack all on the frappé! Not made with any additives nor sugary syrups, it is literally cold foamy instant coffee and was first invented by the Greek Nescafe representative Dimitris Vakondios in 1957 in the city of Thessaloniki. It is seriously good and is certainly making up for the lack of caffeine that I am missing from tea.

It reminds me of the cold coffee that Hebe and I slurped up in Vietnam. Cà phê sữa đá literally translated as cold coffee with condensed milk. I am not sure which I prefer, the Greek frothiness or the Vietnamese sweetness. If you haven’t tried coffee, both cold and hot, with condensed milk, you must – now! A straw slurping warning is necessary, it’s too good to miss even a single drop.

Cà phê sữa đá

Vietnam is a thriving hotspot for coffee and in addition to its condensed milk companion, the weasel coffee bean variety is a winner and is in fact one of the most expensive coffee varieties in the world. Let’s just say it has a unique taste, if you have never heard of it before, it is the shiz! Quite literally! The civet cat digests the bean and this is then refound in its faeces and that is the bean that is used in your coffee – yum yum!

To top off the coffee scene another must try for travellers passing through Vietnam is the famous egg coffee. This is literally, I kid you not, the most delicious coffee I have ever had in my life! It is like a coffee meringue pie! This is a speciality to the capital Hanoi and the best in town can be found in this adorable little roof terrace cafe…
Cafe Pho Co is not easy to find and is the secret gem of Hanoi. Enter through the silk shop and in Narnia style it will bring you to a fairy light lit spiral staircase. Head to the top to get a view off the city overlooking the hustle and bustle of activity around Hoan Kiem Lake.
So back to Greece…In between the ice coffees and teas, ice cream is just generally a holiday must and we are not left disappointed. I have had some pretty good ice cream over the years and the best, for me, is still found in Argentina – but I need a freshly churned new post to witter on about that. The top flavour of the week for us is the Pavlova – a creamy yogurt ice cream with frozen berries and chunks of meringue – delish! We couldn’t complain about the view either 😉


The cake scene is also not too shabby. Greece has some dreamy γλύκα (desserts) including the all mighty μπακλαβáς (baklava), κανταϊφι (kadaifi) and γαλακτομπούρεκο (custard filled pastry). The typical Greek ingredients used that I have detected include walnuts, honey, syrup, cinnamon and coconut – I have some new recipes ideas brewing 😉 Because of the heat we have definitely been hitting the cake hard at breakfast and then ice creaming it up during the day!

So although my quest to find some tea didn’t exactly go to plan, I did unlock some yummy iced delights along the way! Despite the cold weather you guys have at home why don’t you try snuggling up in front of the fire with at least a magnum, ice cream is after all perfect for all occasions. I just can’t promise you a backdrop like we have 😉


Have a chilled day!




Posted on

How d(ely)ghtful!

Peacock’s Tearoom

65 Waterside, Ely, CB7 4AU

01353 661100 

5 teacups

Leaving ‘the bubble’ is something that happens on the rare occasion during a Cambridge term but if the moment shall arise one cannot help but feel a sudden rebellious sensation bubbling from within. Now that I have entered the exam free realm I can venture away from the nest as much as I  please, without that niggling guilty feeling pulsing in the back of my mind.

If you follow the river Cam through the countryside for exactly 17 miles you will eventually reach the town of Ely (Marathon training made me quite obsessive and sensitive about distances!). The walk is lovely and peaceful but the run is a challenging one and only recommendable for cross-country training. If you are after road training this is not the route for you! You will find too much mud, pot holes and slightly too many cows for your liking. Nevertheless, if you have a sane bone in your body you would opt to drive or hop on the train to Ely and arrive feeling fresh and ready for some optimum mooching and munching time.

Home to one of the country’s most magnificent cathedrals and Oliver Cromwell’s family home, Ely offers a historical time warp enriched with riverside views and of course many cute tearooms. My all time favourite is Peacock’s Tearoom a family run business that does not scrimp and save or cut corners. Situated along the riverside it is the perfect location to stop for a bit of refuelling whether or not the sun has got its hat on. The climbing greenery spilling over the quaint Polly Pocket style front white picket fence is no less disappointing than the food and beverages that await you inside. The only snag that spoils the view is the long queue that you may see snaking around the corner but alas good things come to those who wait! Stand your ground and you will find yourself whizzed through in a jiffy.

2016-06-12 20.29.48

Inside you will find teapots galore and a menu so extensive you are left in ponder-panic mode! As well as scones and cakes you will find an array of sensational savouries. I personally always go for the soup of the day that comes with a cheese scone; the all time favourites being the sweet potato soup and the more recent carrot, lentil and bacon soup. Other lunchtime options include salads, sandwiches and toasties filled in the classic and standard way and also with more adventurous accompaniments such as the mouth-water-worthy banana, bacon and maple syrup which is next on my ‘to try’ list.

For a decent price you can also get the whole shebang and opt for an afternoon tea for one including finger sandwiches, scones and your choice of a slab of cake. In past visits I have gobbled the carrot cake, the coffee and Baileys buttercream cake, the chocolate and courgette cake and the lavender and earl grey cake. Only a few pedantic comments would be that the carrot cake was an ickle bit on the dry side for my liking and the coffee and Baileys buttercream cake lacked the taste of Baileys! The latter two flavours were sublimmmeeeee. Don’t be put of by the sound of courgette in a cake, it is good, trust me! For the chocoholics, there is the chocolate dream cream tea which comes with a chocolate scone, chocolate brownie and a hot chocolate – also on my ‘to taste’ list!


For those coming just for a cuppa, you will not be disappointed since you will find a double page spread of leafy likes to choose from. The quote placed at the bottom of the list is instantaneously relatable for anyone whose eyes light up at this extensive sight;

(I am) a hardened and shameless tea drinker…who with tea amused the evening, with tea solaced the midnight and with tea welcomed the morning – Dr Johnson

The drink list also goes back to traditions by only offering filtered coffee and no lattes or cappuccinos! For modern-day takeout caffeine junkies this may touch a sensitive nerve but panic not, the full-bodied french flavour that filters through will not leave you disappointed. For the not so inclined hot beverage drinkers Peacock’s offers homemade iced tea, milkshakes and ice-cream floats! Now that’s a blast from the past!

Despite the seemingly never-ending choice on offer, as advised on the menu, this is perhaps not the best place for vegans. In 100% agreement, no teatime is complete without milk in your tea and clotted cream on your scones.


Well, all that is left to say now is that Peacock’s Tearoom fills all the teacups and I give it a 5 teacup rating! (Please do pump up the Baileys in the coffee cake though! And that’s coming from a teetotaler!) Hop over to Ely soon and give it a go, you will not be left dissatisfied. Do try to keep your company under control though, they may freak out at the excitement!

5 teacups

Have a d-ELY-ghtful day!


Posted on

Simply the best: Roger, Lymington and the 4-second rule

Among this week’s hopscoff destinations was Lymington, one of the southernmost towns of the New Forest. This vast area of woodland thrives with tourists all year round benefiting from the expansion of greenery, which lends itself to both wellie winter hikes and flip-flop summer strolls. The New Forest is therefore, by default, renowned for its tearooms offering cream teas by the log fire during the cooler months and gorgeous gardens to lounge in with a cuppa when the sun actually decides to make an appearance. Having only been to Lymington once before in January when my Argentinian beauties were over to England, I was keen to see it out of gloomy overcast weather.


The purpose of my little trip was to go and visit Roger, my newly adopted Grandad and the embodiment of British traditions and manners and my most ideal tea-drinking partner! My time with Roger was short but sweeter than any cake I have ever tasted – and there have been many! He is the living proof that a bit of determination and etiquette can get you a long way and I think I learnt more from him in one afternoon than I have done in a four-year degree.

20160608_130924He was the most perfect host and knowing that a tearoom is to me what a bone is to a dog, he patiently took me up and down Lymington High Street showing me all the tearooms the town had to offer. Roger has only recently moved to the area and was therefore also keen to explore with me. He decided to move after his wife sadly passed away, giving him a new forest start.

Roger to20160608_130930ld me about some of the places he had already been to and took me through his ‘4-second rule’. He quite rightly pointed out that our powerful brains judge places and people alike within four seconds and before we have even seen a menu, we have already decided whether we are going to stay and slurp away or dash for the door. What draws us in differs from person to person and everyone will have their own checklist. Some like the whole grab-and-go thing, some like cheap and cheerful, some like flavour explosions, most should like a big slab of cake 😉 and others are just looking for the free WIFI. Our internal checklist will often cover service, ambiance, product and price. If you are not greeted with a smile you are instantly put off, if it’s a scorching day you are unlikely to want to sit inside, you want a decent variety of cakes, good quality tea/coffee and you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it! Roger kindly shared an insight into his cri-tea-ria. Tea must be served with skimmed milk, never in a metal teapot and preferably with loose leaf – * ding ding * we have a match – teabuddies for life! 😀


During our little stroll through Lymington we passed many tearooms that didn’t quite send our tea radars off the scale, so we didn’t enter a single one. Roger, a retired successful businessman, spent years offering his punters a service with excellence and doesn’t settle for anything less than that. As an exception, the 4-second rule can often be dodged through recommendations. Even if a certain place that has been recommended to us doesn’t quite cut the mustard, curiosity overrides all instincts and we find ourselves lured in by that internal voice – But if they love it here, I have to see what the fuss is about! The tearoom Sophie’s is idyllically placed on the cobbled street of Lymington and I went there with Paz, Martín and Luján in January after it was recommended to us. Yet, there was a reason why I didn’t jump at the opportunity to go back this time, it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. In the literally sense since the speciality served was Teapigs, a brand of tea that I have never managed to grow an affiliation for. Yet also in other aspects such as the limited variety of cakes and the served slice that slips slightly too much onto the thinner side of comfort! Our favourite family New Forest teatime hideout is (so far) Rosie Lea’s in Brockenhurst, serving a wide variety of savoury and sweet options as well as out-of-this-world hot chocolates to keep the little’ns content – for a short while 😉

In quest of our diamond-on-the-tooth factor, as Roger would put it, we decided to hop into the car and drive a few miles down the road to Braxton Gardens, host to a tearoom that I had sniffed out prior to my visit. I did actually think it was in Lymington town centre – geography was never my strong point at school! As we got out the car and approached the gardens Roger’s eyes lit up and a quick exchange was enough to reassure us both that this was the place we had spent all afternoon looking for. The gardens were stunning and peaceful, the teapot, teacups and saucers were delightful and the icing on the cake for Roger was being served skimmed milk with his tea. Of course, the British sunshine most certainly added to the ambiance of our stay but The Muffin Galore tearoom, as it is called, also has the cutest indoor seating area as well, perfect for any (guaranteed) rainy day. Any trip to Lymington and the surrounding area must be complemented by a quick hop to this charming tearoom and both Roger and I would give it a 5-teacup rating!

When it was time to say cheerio to Roger I caught site of a stunning plant on his balcony that was overlooking the river Lymn. He told me that he had named it ‘simply the best’, proudly stating that it is called so in memory of his late wife. To nicely wrap this up, as I am aware that your tea has probably gone cold within this time that I have waffled on for, I suppose I can leave you fellow hopscoffers with two things that I learnt on my trip to Lymington that you can ponder upon whilst you crunch on that biscuit. Firstly, what one views as being ‘the best’ is totally subjective, but by your standards do not settle for anything less, if you are going to treat yourself don’t do it by halves! Find the best place for you. Trust your 4-second rule instinct. And secondly, remember that you are ‘simply the best’. Even though Roger spent the last two years caring for his wife who suffered from an alcohol addiction, she will always be his ‘best’.

Despite our flaws and the chips our teapots may have, we are all beau-tea-ful!






Posted on

Fortnum and Mason

Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason

181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER 

020 7734 8040

5 teacups

Although my love for Afternoon Tea is unquestionable, my actual experience with the posh grand affair is somewhat restrained. The novelty of using a fine china teacup and saucer with a strainer that you always forget about and end up getting bits of loose leaf tea in your cuppa (#teaproblems 🙁 ) never wares off. I have previously been to the Lanesborough and the Goring both of which were divine but they don’t have one crumb on F&M! Whilst they are both luxurious hotels, F&M is the cream of the crop when it comes to tea,  with its long brewed history that started with William Fortnum and Hugh Mason who grew to become specialist grocers and tea merchants. Since 1707 the store has managed to wrap the hearts of all Tealovers with their special teapot cosy and is famous for its excellence in serving and selling fine teas from around the globe.

Unlike the endless list of grand London hotels that lure in tourists and Londers alike with their glistening chandeliers and household name, the F&M afternoon tea experience begins as soon as your enter the store. Surrounded by Oolongs, Royal and Black blends and Greenies galore, you almost forget the very reason why you are tottering around the store with heels and your most conservative posh dress. Once you manage to peel your eyes away from the tea-lined shelves your pretteay experience continues as you ascend the red carpeted stairs and the Tiffanyblue-lined walls (which makes a great backdrop for some snappy snaps). Having left the teas, coffees, chocolates and biscuits behind, on the next floor you will find your teapots, teacups, saucers, strainers, tea cosies – you name it! From gorgeous floral patterns to eye-burning silver-plated sets, there is something for everyone. On the way up to the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon you will ascend through the subtle fragrances of soaps and hand creams and musky leather until you begin to catch the  fine tunes of the pianist. There the F&M colour coordinated hostesses will meet and greet you and take you to your table (if you are not too distracted by the impressive range of teas that line the wall!).

Already waiting for you on the table is the classic F&M St James Eau de Nil China Teaware and the chirpy chappy Frenchman who will bring you the extensive Tea List and Afternoon Tea options. We opted for the standard Afternoon Tea priced at £44 if served with a famous blend tea or at £48 if served with a rare tea. The standard menu comes with the classic finger sandwiches (fortnum’s smoked salmon, coronation chicken, cucumber with mint and cream cheese, honey roast ham with grain mustard and rare breed hen’s egg mayonnaise with english cress), scones (plain and fruit) served with clotted cream, strawberry preserve and lemon curd and a selection of pâtisseries as well as a selection of cake from the Cake Carriage. Other options include the High Tea and the Savoury Afternoon Tea menu which comes with savoury scones (cheddar cheese and caramelised onion) and instead of pâtisseries additional options such as a wild mushroom puff with truffle and asparagus with parma ham. If I am honest, my biggest regret is not opting to go for one Afternoon Savoury Tea option and one standard option and then sharing the two! Since you get a slab of cake at the end, having the additional savouries is a wise decision.

Nonetheless, the sandwiches were exquisite, the scones cooked to perfection, and served warm, and the slab of cake was a generous serving with the carriage  full of a diverse range (chocolate ganache, blackberry bakewell tart, lemon and raspberry cake, Battenberg and fruit cake). As well as being the connoisseur of all connoisseurs of tea, F&M also stands out from the crowd because of their offering from the cake carriage. If you feel like you won’t be able to squeeze in another morsel of cake – fear not! – ask to take home a doggy bag. Also don’t forget that in the posh Afternoon Teas you can ask for endless amounts of everything! So if you want more sandwiches, scones or cakes just ask and it won’t cost you a penny more.

The tea is also unlimited and you can try as many different kinds as you like. I sampled the Afternoon Blend, the Breakfast Blend, the Royal Blend, the Strawberry Black Tea, the Countess Grey Tea and the Manuka Tea. I have to say, as much as I am a fanatic of the classic English Breakfast Tea (taken with milk and no sugar!!) I absolutealy LOVED the Strawberry Black Tea which must be taken without milk – it was so light and refreshing that milk was just not necessary. The Manuka Tea was my second favourite. The light flavour of the Manuka honey made a perfect accompaniment to wash down the fluffy scones. In terms of the classic black tea, the Afternoon Tea Blend was a bit too light for my liking and I much prefered the Royal Blend. The Countess Grey Tea is a must try for all Earl Grey fanatics and has undertones of orange which gives it an intriguing twist.

To complement the endless amounts of food and tea, I highly suggest you try the fresh F&M lemonade. With my sensitive palate I can’t stand fizzy bubbles popping in my mouth and so I asked for it to be made with still water instead of soda which they made without any fuss. The service at F&M cannot be faulted and they attend to your every need without pressuring or rushing you – we spent 2 1/2 hours there! They also brought me a little box of truffles and a candle with a happy birthday sign which was just the icing on the cake (as if I hadn’t had enough already!!). Even if you are not going to celebrate a birthday, I suggest you email before hand and tell them you are anyway – you never know what freebie you can get out of it 😉


5 teacups

The whole experience went from phenomenal to exceptional and therefore Fortnum and Mason’s grand Afternoon Tea undoubtedly  deserves a 5 teacup rating!