Tag Archives: tea

Tea at The Ritz

ritz“Things to do in my 40s” Bucket List number 4 – BIG FAT DONE!!!

I thought it was high time I started ticking off some more on my bucket list, so I decided I would treat myself for afternoon tea at The Ritz.  And what better day to go than my birthday 😉

I was very purple. I decided on a lovely frock – blue grey with big purple flowers topped off with a purple shrug (which I had worn for SC’s christening), my purple handbag and a pair of flat ballerina pumps (I did take my heels, but in the end felt more comfortable in flats)

I dropped SC off at school and then hot-footed it up into the big smoke – I’d booked afternoon tea for 11.30, which I suppose technically makes it morning tea 😉 so I had plenty of time to get back for school pick-up.

I was there super early, but got to sit in the foyer soaking up the ambience. It was truly lovely.

Eventually 11:30 arrived and I was shown to my table (for 1) – handily wedged in a corner, so I could sit and watch the world go by whilst I supped tea and read my book (which you could say was my date).ritz1

Oh my gosh! The choice of tea is vast, at least 20 varieties. I was tempted by the Orange Pekoe, but seeing as I haven’t partaken in caffeinated tea for a while I didn’t want to run the risk of getting the caffeine shakes in the middle of one of the poshest hotels in London, so I stuck to my herbal and veered away from Chamomile to Lemon Verbena. It was refreshing on the old palate and made a lovely change.

And don’t you just love it when you get a proper china cup and saucer? Makes the tea taste better I find!

The tea turned up in a silver teapot, with an extra silver jug filled with hot water and a tea strainer – although with the Lemon Verbena there were not many tea leaves, so I couldn’t read my leaves at the end!!!

ritz2Then they brought a cake stand with a plate of sandwiches – the daintiest things. I would love to know how they do them. How come their bread doesn’t squish down when they cut it like mine does when I make SC his packed lunch in the mornings?? There was smoked salmon (scrummy), cucumber (of course), hummus (I got the veggie option), tomato and cheese. And the top of the stand had 5 lovely looking cakes.

So armed with tea, sandwiches, cake and a good book I settled down to enjoy the atmosphere. Then the man started playing the grand piano – a medley of old musical tunes – truly lovely, brought a tear to my eye.

I was so engrossed with my book and enjoying my tea that I scarcely noticed that an hour had gone by and the waiter came to replenish my teapot and offer scones.

To be honest, I didn’t eat everything. There was a lot. I was a very good girl and didn’t eat the cakes, but I couldn’t resist the teeny tiny scones – especially as they came hot from the oven with clotted cream and jam.

And I made sure I eked out every single second. As it’s so popular you get an hour and three-quarters and I was not going to leave until 1:15!!! So I made darn sure I made that last cup of tea last 😉

I had a lovely time, I’m glad I can tick it off my list and I would definitely go again. Maybe next time I’ll get to go with a real-live human being instead of a book – but heck, if not I’ll take another book 😉

 

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My date with a guy called Leo …

The weather was a glorious Spring day.

The setting of the Science Museum was perfect.

Just a shame my date has been dead for nearly 500 years!!!

 

I have loved the Science Museum ever since I was a little girl and my parents used to drive us into London to while away a Sunday afternoon playing with all the fun stuff they had for kids that used to be housed in the basement – I hasten to add this was pre-internet, pretty much pre-computer, so it really was lots of machines with levers that you could pull and buttons you could press.

And I have never grown out if the place – it’s a perfect place to embrace my inner geekette.

Well, with a Saturday all to myself and nothing better to do, I thought I would trot into London and visit the Science Museum – after all normally I have the company of SC who whistles round at top speed not really paying much attention to anything, so a saunter around – well when I say saunter, I don’t actually mean that as I walk fast – the museum would be wonderful.

I totally forgot that they have an exhibition on until September 4th all about Leonardo da Vinci. So I paid for my ticket and spent a fabulous couple of hours taking my time looking at everything, listening to every audio going and having a go with every bit of equipment there was to get my hands on (and I was not the only grown-up doing so!)

The man clearly was a genius and had a brain so far ahead of his time it was unbelievable.  Some of his invention were pre-cursors to stuff we have in the modern world.

For example he invented a 3 wheeled cart for a theatrical production, steered by a rudder attached to a 4th wheel, and motorised by cogs – this they reckon was the pre-cursor to our modern-day cars!

His idea for a diving suit was not so far removed from our modern-day equivalent, and then there was flight, anatomy, weapons, mathematics, this list was endless.

I did not know that he actually wrote backwards! All his notes are written from right to left and although the words are spelt correctly and not backwards as well, the letters are written as if in a mirror. Not entirely sure if this was due to secrecy and only his successors would know the code, but it must have taken some doing!

I was blown away – literally.

Although most people would think of him as a painter, apparently he only ever painted 30 pictures and there are only 20 surviving to this day, compared to over 5000 notes (can’t remember if that’s sets or pages).

If you get a chance to go to the Science Museum before the 4th September I would definitely recommend this exhibition. I would gladly go again, and probably find out more stuff that I did today – you always gain more knowledge after the first experience I find!

After I said goodbye to Leo, I have to admit, that although I didn’t have SC with me I just couldn’t help myself going to some of the other hands-on interactive galleries – I know I’m such a big kid 😉

And I also managed to spot Wally – courtesy of a gentlemen wearing a white and red knitted bobble hat!

With that done, I headed back to the tube.  The sun was still shining, but I was in desperate need of refreshment. So I stopped off at Embankment (luckily can walk to the train from there), found a friendly purveyor of teas, purchased a soothing chamomile and in the middle of London found an oasis of calm.

Literally next door to Embankment tube station, there is a delightful garden/small park and in the midst of all the hub-bub the garden was peaceful and serene. I sat in the sunshine, listening to the birds, sipping said tea and partaking of one of my favourite past-times – people watching.

Who knew Antirrhinums were also called “bunnies ears!”

The old lady sitting next to me didn’t like the students chatting outside her flats and told them they should go to the nursery up the road instead of back to college!

I hope the man in the suit jogging through the park got to where he was going on time (and without splitting his trousers, they were rather tight!)

And then I noticed people stopping near a tree, “mmm, must be a bird up there!” thought I. Then I realised they were looking at the back of the tulip bed. And lo and behold this is what they were all looking at:

Fantastic Mr Fox

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Can you believe I’ve stopped ….

… drinking tea!!!!!!tea

The unthinkable has happened.

Even though I was only drinking de-caff tea, I loved my cuppa.

With a cup of tea in my hands, all was right with the world 😉

However, after last Friday (Bloody Hormones – Part 5), I have stopped. No withdrawal method, just completely stopped.

And do you know something?

I don’t actually miss my tea. I thought I would, but I don’t.

The reason?

Is simple. Stress does a lot of things and can divert the liver’s attention away from it’s proper job. So I’m trying to detox and cleanse my liver. And one of the first things to go was my brew!

I’ve been starting the day with lemon juice and water – and it’s not as gross as it sounds. Quite refreshing really. And then just drinking water throughout to start flushing the toxins out.

Over the last week, I’ve actually noticed an improvement in my tiredness (or rather lack of it – believe me I’m still exhausted when SC wakes me up at 4AM, as he has done the last 2 mornings) and a slight improvement in my totally stressed out skin!

I’m working up to doing a one day total liver cleanse, where I drink some concoction made from cranberry juice and alternate it with water over a 12 hour period. If I can ever find anywhere that sells cranberry juice – neat. Most supermarkets sell a lovely cranberry juice drink, but I don’t need that. Might have to take a little trip to my lovely health shop.

Still, if it’s proved one thing, it’s proved I don’t actually need a cup of tea to function. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that maybe my daily cuppa has stopped me functioning properly for all these years!!!

Just a thought 😉

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Cut and Come Again Cake Recipe

When I need my stress levels reduced…I bake.baking

When I feel stressed, worried, anxious, a bit low, or any combination of these and others I find it helps to bake a cake.

Or in the case of today 3!

Wow!

I have a lot on my mind at the moment!

Anyway – I more than replenished the cake supply, so hopefully there should be no grumblings in this house for a while!

But I digress.

I made a simple fruit cake – called a “Cut and Come Again” cake.

I had had this years ago at a friend’s house and she gave me the recipe which I long since lost, but today I thought I would try something different to cupcakes and managed to find a recipe posted onto Saint Delia Smith’s website by someone – it is not a Delia recipe.

It was seriously easy to make, smells amazing and tastes fab 😉

So, here you go recipe for “Cut and Come Again” cake:

Ingredients

  • 12oz (340g) Self-Raising Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
  • 6oz (170g) Soft Margarine
  • 6oz (170g) Caster Sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6oz (170g) Sultanas
  • 4oz (113g) Currants (or chopped nuts if you prefer)
  • 4oz (113g) Raisins
  • 3 tablespoons Milk

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (Fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F
  • Grease and line a 20cm/8inch round cake tin
  • Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl, or food mixer
  • Beat well until thoroughly mixed
  • Pour mixture into tin and level the top
  • Bake for about 1-1¼ hours (until skewer comes out clean)
  • Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off paper and cool on a wire rack.
  • Make a cup of tea and enjoy!

My Findings on Making the Cake

  1. This was a seriously easy cake to make – anyone can do it – from measuring out the ingredients to pouring into the cake tin literally took less than 10 minutes!
  2. I never use Caster Sugar in baking I always use soft brown sugar – only because I believe it is less refined and therefore slightly healthier – big emphasis on the slightly, after all it is still sugar! (I have tried fruit sugar alternative when I made cupcakes, total disaster, but that might work better with this recipe as well)
  3. I mixed all the ingredients, EXCEPT the fruit, first with my electric whisk for about 3/4 minutes, and then I added the fruit and mixed for a further minute – for me this seemed more logical, as you can see that everything has been mixed easier than if you have small dried fruit bits floating about!
  4. I put the cake in for 1 hour initially, then checked with the skewer, then I cooked for a further 5 minutes and the skewer came out clean. Everyone’s ovens are different and I would advise 1 hour first and then 5 minute intervals. For those that don’t know about the skewer test, it is purely to see if the cake is cooked – put a clean skewer into the middle of the cake, down to the bottom – if the skewer comes out with cake mixture on you can see that the mixture is still not quite cooked, if it comes out clean your cake is ready.
  5. This cake tastes extremely good when you are sat down with your feet up and a large mug of tea 😉

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10 interesting (or not) facts about me!

So, here you go 10 interesting (or not) facts about “l’il ol’ me!”

  1. I don’t smoke or drink – prefer not to harm my lungs or liver! I don’t drink purely because I don’t like the taste – some wines really would be better being poured over a plate of chips! And smoking, ladies, whatever the magazines and films may make you think does not look glamorous, or cool. But just because I don’t drink or smoke does not mean I don’t know how to enjoy myself 😉
  2. I love the smell of coffee but cannot stand the taste. Seriously, I love the smell you get from opening a jar of coffee, but can’t drink it, no matter how milky, frothy or decorated with sprinkles you make it! I prefer a good old cup of tea. Brewed the builder’s way – tea-bag in mug, milk, no sugar, preferably de-caffeinated but not compulsory 😉
  3. I’m allergic to e-numbers and chocolate! That’s right chocolate. I go totally haywire, and you end up having to scrape me off the ceiling. Not a pretty sight. Chocolate gives most people an incredible high – that’s why everyone loves it – but some for some people it has the opposite effect. As for me, well if I have chocolate or e-numbers I make Mr Hyde look like a pussy cat. I literally writhe about on the floor wanting to rip every limb of my body out of its socket to replace it as my muscles completely tense up.
  4. I’m an old-fashioned romantic at heart – still waiting for a handsome prince to sweep me off my feet. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in that. A girl should be wooed by a potential suitor – hearts and flowers (deep red fragrant roses obviously and happen to be my favourite) and all that jazz. It is all about romance – don’t let Cosmo or Elle tell you any different. Deep down, every girl wants the fairytale.
  5. I love reading. I’ll read anything. I pick books literally by scanning the shelves and looking at the front cover. If I like what I see I’ll buy it. I’ve read some hummers mind you. But have also read some surprisingly good ones. I am lucky that I can skim read (I can also read upside-down, but that’s only handy in interviews 😉 ) so without interruption I can read a book in about a day. I went on a fortnight’s holiday once and took 6 books with me. Take away the 2 travel days and 3 excursion days. I read all 6 in the remaining 9 – and still had time to read one again!
  6. I am completely obsessed when it comes to washing my clothes – no one, but myself can touch my washing. For the simple fact all washing machines shrink clothes! Once they are washed – on the gentlest cycle and lowest spin setting – they have to be stretched to within an inch of their life. I am at one with my obsession! But don’t think you’d be doing me a favour by doing my washing, seriously, and don’t even think tumble drier unless you want Mr Hyde to reappear!
  7. Pants – another obsession. I want a pair of pants to cover my backside. I don’t do dental floss up my bum and seriously if I wanted boy shorts I’d grow a penis (they are just as bad as G-strings as they end up stuck up your bum. Why is it so difficult to find a pair that covers your bottom. Even those that are supposed to … don’t – yes I’m talking M&S!
  8. I love cooking. I have a raft of recipe books, but at the moment very little time to actually try out different recipes. My friends used to call me the ‘dessert queen’ as I always came up trumps with pudding – essential I feel to finish off the meal. If I go out to eat I prefer main and dessert to starter and main.
  9. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 14 – not through any moral standing, just purely based on watching a video in a biology lesson about how they killed animals. My friend and I looked at each other and said “not eating meat again!” – she caved after a few weeks, I’m still going. To be honest, never was a huge fan of meat. I eat fish, and have no problems handling and cooking meat for others.
  10. I am a single mother. It certainly wasn’t a path I envisaged, but that just serves me right for picking a toad! Still, I am blessed with SC, and thank the angels every day for sending me such a wonderful gift. I didn’t want SC to be an only child, when I was little I always wanted 6 children! Now I think 2 or 3 would be a good number – if pushing it, considering my age and lack of handsome prince. But if I’m a really good girl, one day, who knows, maybe I’ll get to play happy families like everyone else 😉

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