Wednesday 12 December 2018

The Sanderson Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Review

Just off of London's Oxford Street is Berner's Street and it is here that you will find The Sanderson Hotel. Step inside and you are instantly transported into a fun oasis, home of the famous Lips Couch and serving up the famously themed Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea. 

I did my homework before I made my booking, I looked at the reviews and a few people mentioned that if you are seated in The Courtyard it can be a little cold. Blankets are provided but, as we were going in December and my mum had recently undergone a major (life saving) operation and felt the cold more than most people, I called to make my booking. At the other end of the line was the really lovely Mikey and he promised that we could sit in The Restaurant so I went ahead and booked. 

On the day I was mightily glad that I had made that phone call as the wind was whipping up a treat, it was bitterly cold and snow was on its way, literally, it arrived that evening!! We were shown to a fabulous and private booth and it made us very feel special, which was a lovely touch as this was a very, very special occasion for us. 

The staff were utterly fantastic, friendly, attentive and helpful to the extreme... one of them was always happy, offering to take pictures of us as he went past which gave us a good laugh :)

The afternoon tea is fun, quirky and most importantly absolutely delicious. Our package came with a free cocktail included in the price and this was a lovely touch too.

The menu


Smoked salmon Scotch quails egg with caviar and cream cheese 
Stack of King of Hearts ham and Parmesan croque-monsieur
Cornish crab brioche roll with spiced avocado and coriander 
White Rabbit cucumber and cream cheese sandwich on pesto bread 


Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry Jammy Dodger 
Mocha chessboard gateau 
Tweedle Dee lemon curd financier 
Mad March Hare vanilla pocket watch macaroon 
Chocolate and pistachio Blue Caterpillar 
Wonderland marshmallow magic mushrooms 
Mad Hatters lost carrot and fennel meringue 
Alice’s exotic fruits 'Drink Me' Potion'

Warm scones served with Cornish clotted cream and fruit preserve.

A nice mix of savory offerings, I loved the crab brioche roll in particular. The sweet treats were a genuine real treat, with the fun and magical theme carried through and thought out brilliantly. You cannot but help having a smile on your face as you sit down to devour each and every one. This was a faultless afternoon tea and with all the little touches, like the quirky teapots and mini bottles, it was just utterly delightful. The afternoon passed almost too quickly! 

I give it a A Mad Hatters 10/10 

The Sanderson Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea costs from £48 a person 

Tuesday 11 December 2018

West Lodge Park Hotel Afternoon Tea Review

Who doesn't love an impromptu Afternoon Tea?

I  had planned to spend a day with my sister, baby niece and mum, not wishing to travel too far we made our way to West Lodge Park Hotel in Cockfosters, North London.

West Lodge Park Hotel is a Country House Hotel set in vast and stunning grounds in Hertfordshire. It plays host to weddings and functions but is equally welcoming to those dining out or wishing to enjoy the grounds and Sun Terrace.

Originally we had planned to have lunch but on a whim, changed our minds and decided to experience Afternoon Tea instead. As the sitting was from 3pm we had a little time to wait and were invited to take a seat in the bar. Although we just turned up and this may be okay to do during weekdays, I would personally prebook to avoid disappointment.

Afternoon Tea is served in The Mary Beale Restaurant and the walls are adorned with fabulous historical Art. The windows are floor to ceiling so the room is bright and airy and made for a lovely, relaxed environment to take tea.

A standard afternoon tea costs a very reasonable £23.50 per person and includes the following

Four finger sandwiches served on a variety of artisan breads 
Chef’s choice savoury item 
Two warm scones with Devonshire clotted cream and Tiptree jam 
Selection of three homemade seasonal cakes and pastries 
Café du Monde coffee or Newby of London tea

If you fancy an alcoholic tipple there are options of Prosecco or Champagne for an additional charge. Dietary requirements are also catered for.

Our only little niggle was that we didn't want the salmon sandwiches and would have liked an option from the vegetarian sandwich selection but were only allowed to order a replacement sandwich from the menu we were having which was a little disappointing.

Nevertheless the sandwiches were tasty and fresh. I loved the addition of a bitesize quiche.The scones were cooked to perfection and had just the right amount of crumble so as not to fall apart the minute you apply the cream and jam. The cakes were a good size and very nice, especially the fruit tart. A slight grumble would be that the macaron was more biscuit like than chewy and soft in the centre as I was expecting. All in all we had a great time, the afternoon tea was enjoyable, the setting lovely and the service friendly and pleasant.

If you don't want to head off to London to enjoy an afternoon tea, then I highly recommend making a trip to West Lodge Park Hotel.

I give West Lodge Park Hotel  9/10 

Monday 10 December 2018

Bob Bob Ricard Restaurant Review

The day after I booked a table for two at Bob Bob Ricard, an email dropped into my inbox from billing it as one of the 12 most romantic restaurants in London. I had been wanting to go to BBR for years so it seemed apt that I used the excuse of our wedding anniversary as the occasion to go! Although, you most definitely don't need an occasion to visit, just go is my recommendation..

Bob Bob Ricard is the iconic Art Deco Soho restaurant serving a luxury English and Russian menu in London's most glamorous all-booth dining room. Famous for its 'Press for Champagne' button at every table, the restaurant boasts the accolade of pouring more Champagne than any other restaurant in the UK!

Despite it being famous for its Champagne, neither my husband or I had any. I know! The tall blonde one had a glass of red wine and I opted for an Espresso Martini. We also skipped the sub zero Vodka shots but we will have them next time we go!

The Espresso Martini was an ideal accompaniment to my meal, smooth froth with the perfect amount of alcoholic content.

Bob Bob Ricard's decor is plush and decadent and the booths offer privacy and comfort. Perfect indeed.

Service was faultless. Friendly and attentive. The atmosphere in the restaurant was buzzy for a Saturday afternoon and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

The tall blonde one had a starter which he very kindly let me share ... it was absolutely delicious and was demolished in seconds. Creamy avocado, soft, tasty crab and refreshing salad, with a dressing to die for. One of the best starters we have ever eaten.

Crab with Chilli & Avocado

For mains I couldn't resist ordering the Chicken Kiev served with creamed corn. As the tall blonde is dairy free it's a rare treat to have something like this and it didn't disappoint. Moist chicken filled with buttery moreishness and sweet creamed corn.

 The tall blonde one opted for the Pavé steak with Peppercorn & Brandy Sauce and we ordered a side order of Fries to share.

Of course I could squeeze in one of their famous desserts...

The tall blonde one chose Le Colonel - Lemon sorbet with Russian Standard Platinum Vodka

While I ummed and aahed over whether to have the BBR Signature Chocolate Glory or the Flaming Crème Brûlée - The Crème Brûlée won :) thus now I need to return to try my other choice - ha ha .

Now remember I mentioned how fab the service was .... well a waiter brought my flaming dessert to the table but the flame went out almost immediately... our original waiter saw the disappointment on my face and relit it so I could video it and share it on my insta stories - now that's what I call service ;-)

My long awaited visit to Bob Bob Ricard lived up to its expectations and more - we fully intend to make another visit and enjoy some of the rest of the menu... Personally, I cannot wait!

Bob Bob Ricard gets a 10/10

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Underneath the Mistletoe - A Christmas Short Story

Underneath the Mistletoe

Sixteen-year-old Amy’s stomach was in knots, flipping over and over in anticipation of the school’s Christmas Disco that evening. All week, Scott, the object of her affections, had been throwing hints that she would be his date for the night but with just hours to go, she was disappointed to have not heard anything from him. Perhaps the phone had been engaged when he had tried to call. She could throttle Sammy, her younger sister, for hogging the phone all the time and ruining her love life. ‘Get off the phone Sammy!’ she yelled as she threw a cuddly toy from her bed at the gossiping teenager. But still no call came.
                At seven, Sarah, her best friend knocked for her and together, dressed in their best party frocks, they made their way to school. It was only a short walk which Amy, wearing the highest heels she could bear, was grateful for. Her dress was a striking bright blue and her hair had been crimped, showing off the blonde streaks that Sun In had created. Sarah was wearing a dark green crushed velvet dress and with her rich, wavy chestnut hair and emerald green eyes, Amy was really quite envious at how effortlessly beautiful she was.
                ‘Where are you meeting Scott?’ Sarah asked as they walked.
                ‘I don’t know, I haven’t heard from him.’ Amy replied sadly, the air was crisp and her breath was blowing out wisps of cold air, as if she was smoking.
                The teacher’s greeted the girls at the door before they entered a hall transformed into a festive party venue, filled with sparkly balloons and coloured ribbons, Christmas music was playing and already a few girls had taken to the dance floor.
                Amy searched the crowds, was Scott already there? A small group of boys were huddled in one corner and it was there that she saw him, his blonde floppy hair covering one eye, the other boys in awe of the coolest kid in school. He looked over and winked at her, causing Amy to blush and excitement tingle through her body. He still liked her then, so she was baffled when he didn’t automatically walk over to join her. Must be playing it cool she thought, the night had only just begun. Sarah dragged Amy onto the dance floor and for a few songs she managed to forget about Scott and the games he was playing. With all the dancing they did, the two girls had worked up an appetite and headed to the buffet table. Out the corner of her eye she spied Scott on the other side of the room, in his hand a sprig of mistletoe. Their eyes locked and he grinned at her, shaking the mistletoe in her direction. He wanted to kiss her, the mistletoe the perfect excuse. She had to go over to him.
                ‘Erm, Sarah, I am going to give the buffet a miss for now.’ Sarah watched as her friend walked away. She shook her head, guys like Scott always spelt trouble from her experience. Too cocky for their own good. But she couldn’t say anything, Amy was hopelessly love struck.
                Scott was waiting for Amy, he closed his eyes, holding the mistletoe above his head. Amy was walking faster now, eager to get to him and feel his lips on hers. Almost there, she watched in horror as Claire swooped in and pressed her lips against Scott’s instead. To her disgust she noted that Scott didn’t open his eyes or even stop to come up for air. The pair of them embraced long enough for Amy to feel the tears slipping down her cheek. Scott placed his arm around Claire’s as he took her to a dark corner, Amy’s public humiliation was complete.
                With the party spirit well and truly over, she wasn’t going to hang around any longer, kicking off her heels she raced out of the door. Sarah ran after her distraught best friend, rejection hurt and she was ready to console Amy and her broken heart.


Now forty, Amy opened the envelope with intrigue, no one sent post these days, events were all handled on Facebook.  
‘You are invited to a school reunion. Carswell High seeks your presence at The Christmas Ball of the Year! Connect with long lost friends and party the night away. Relive your sweet sixteen!’
Amy shuddered as she read the leaflet. She couldn’t think of anything worse. She had absolutely no intention of reliving those days. She took a deep breath, the humiliation she had felt that night had never left her but Scott and Claire were a distant memory and she was keen to keep it that way. She tossed the letter into the bin and gave it no more thought.

A week before Christmas her company were enjoying their Christmas dinner and party at a local Country hotel. Having just finished their rich, dense pudding with cream, they were invited to head into the hall where the DJ was playing Christmas favourites. 
The venue was hosting parties for a few other companies that evening and so Amy found herself on the dance floor with people she didn’t recognise. After a couple of glasses of wine, she didn’t really care and happily danced the night away. At midnight the DJ’s tunes had turned to slower, more romantic numbers and with no one to dance with, Amy decided to head home. As she walked out of the door, a tall dark and handsome stranger prevented her from leaving.
‘Amy?’ He spoke, surprised.
             She blinked a few times as she tried to place the guy who appeared to know her. She felt his hand on the top of her arm but she didn’t resist.
‘Wow! You are looking great.’
She stared into his warm brown eyes and then it suddenly dawned on her, it was Robert, Scott’s best friend!
She vaguely remembered him, he had been tall and skinny back then with his dark hair brushed forward, rarely smiled, moody looking. Now, standing before her with the most devilish smile, she had to admit that there was a spark, an instant attraction that she had never felt before, with anyone.
‘Thank you’ she responded, nervously laughing as she did so.
Rob glanced upwards, in the doorway someone had hung some mistletoe. His face was mischievous now… ‘I think I know what the answer is going to be but… a kiss underneath the mistletoe? It is Christmas after all…’ 
Scott had been an asshole, they had long fallen out over how he had treated girls. 
Amy’s first response, when she saw the mistletoe, was to take flight once more. But she had to let the past live in the past.
A mix of emotions filled Amy as she closed her eyes but most of all she wanted to know what she had missed out on that fateful day. This wasn’t Scott but she didn’t want it to be. Rob closed his eyes too, pulling her close. She took in his scent, a strong and heady aftershave that made her legs wobble. Their lips locked, the party continued around them. As their kiss became more passionate, she was surprised at how tender his touch was and how soft his lips were. She couldn't quite believe how her heart was fizzing with delirium, overwhelmed, she was taken aback by her feelings for Rob.
 For Rob, the kiss was everything he had imagined it to be. Amy had never known the way he had felt about her, he had fancied her from the very first day he had met her. Now, he felt her rosebud lips on his and they were full and sweet tasting, drawing him in further. His arms held her tight as they embraced, melting in new found desire for each other.
Conscious of where they were, Rob reluctantly pulled away ‘I have been wanting to do this for almost 25 years, Merry Christmas beautiful!’
Amy whispered back ‘My mother always said magic happens underneath the mistletoe, now I know what she meant.’

Merry Christmas x 

Loved this story? You may want to read the two novels I have written. Both are available to buy from Amazon.

A Tempting Trio - 

Without A Hitch -


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