National Tea Day: A Sneak Preview

I’ve just been told about the biggest Par-TEA of the year, The UK’s only dedicated tea Fes-tea-val – National Tea Day!

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How amazing does a huge celebration of tea sound?! Let me tell you it has a show-stopping agenda, packed full of prac-tea-ly everything you could ever imagine that involves our nation’s favourite drink.

Here’s a sneak preview of what’s in store for the weekend (plus a few fun facts about tea!)…

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FOR THE FAMILY

Tea ‘n’ Treat Village – An entire village of treats, snacks, bakes and cakes and everything else delicious you can think of! This isn’t just a chance to delight in sweets galore though, there’s a host of celebrity masterclasses open to everyone. Mich Turner MBE will be teaching tea lovers how to bake and decorate the perfect tea accompaniment and Alana Spencer, winner of The Apprentice 2017 and Founder of Ridiculously Rich will be showing visitors how to pair cakes and bakes for the ultimate treat combination.

Tea Bazaars – This is the ultimate market place for lovers of great food, great drink and great homeware and the perfect place to find delicious and unusual new products. Each tent has a selection of unique sellers so whether it be artisan snacks or teas from all over the world you’re guaranteed to find something new.

The British Bou-tea-que – In honour of the Queen’s Birthday and National Tea Day itself, The British Bou-tea-que will be showcasing the best of Britain’s tea, treats and fashion. Not only will this area be filled with a bespoke selection of some fabulous British businesses, it’s also packed with activities for the whole family including afternoon tea etiquette lessons, selfies with Queen Victoria and a Chocola-tea parlour.

The Picnic Park – With riverside views, the Picnic Park is the perfect place for families to relax, refuel and enjoy all of their newly purchased goods. This area is also packed with activities including dance classes, an Art-Tea Zone and a Sparkling Tea Bar to help guests stay refresh and hydrated throughout the day.

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FOR THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS

The Vitali-Tea Garden – Set against the backdrop of the glorious ‘Italian Gardens’ this is a healthy experience to really savour. From anti-oxidant properties, to benefits for the guts to glowing skin the benefits of our nations favourite tipple are endless. Visitors can chat with health gurus and tea professionals, try and buy organic products and new to the event this year are a number of personal training and yoga activities.

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FOR THE SECRET SCEINTISTS

Masterclasses and Mixology – National Tea Day isn’t just about consuming tea but also learning about it and the ways it’s consumed all over the world. This is why the organisers have put together an agenda of masterclasses for visitors to enjoy and benefit from. Whether it’s using tea as an ingredient in cocktails or blending your own tea under the guidance of a tea master everyone has something to learn. Guests are invited to explore ways in which tea is so much more than milk and 2 sugars and how it can actually be the perfect complement to any food.

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FOR THE CULTURALIST

The Museum of Historic Tea ware – Perfect for anyone who appreciates fine tea, art or culture, The Chitra Collection showcases some of the finest and most historically significant pieces from the collection and spanning a thousand years of history. This exhibition, on display at Chiswick House for two days only, will highlight the importance and diversity of tea drinking customs across the globe.

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FOR THE PAR-TEA ANIMALS

Tea & Tipple Boulevard – With top entertainment including DJ Sammy Porter, The Tailormade, the Electric Violinist, The U.K’s very own Michael Buble Act and DJ No Sugar; the internationally renowned Dutch Female DJ’s, this is a line up which cant fail to get festival season started. Tea ‘n’ Tipple Boulevard is a mixture of The Strip meeting Mayfair as guests will have the chance sample tea cocktails and tea infused beer in a sleek and stylish setting.

To find out more about National Tea Day and to book tickets for the Fes-Tea-Val, visitnationalteaday.co.uk.

All images and stats in this post kindly provided by National Tea Day.

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2017: A food filled year

2017 has been a food filled year, packed with celebrations, with three weddings (including my own), and several special birthdays. It’s hard to pick the best foodie moments of 2017 but here are just a few in no particular order…

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

This was the most wonderful wedding gift from the Digital Blonde team, what an experience it was. The drinks and delicious little canapes to try as soon as we arrived were fabulous. We enjoyed a lovely long lunch with wine and a cheese course too. I loved hearing detailed descriptions of all the cheeses (local ones and classic French ones) and of course, they were all heaven to eat. The food was exceptional, if you get the chance Raymond Blanc’s restaurant is so worth it – just make sure neither of you drives there! We made this mistake and really regretted it. The team at Le Manoir also sent me a beautiful signed book too – the icing on the cake for this amazing foodie memory.

Our Wedding Day

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This is made up of quite a few little foodie moments that combined to make a very memorable occasion. The first of these was being presented with a new gin to try by the Cabinet Rooms after emerging from the registry office as a newly married couple. I guess that’s what happens when you book your wedding on World Gin Day, next door to Winchester’s first festival of gin!

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A huge shout out has to go to Hotel du Vin in Winchester, where we held our wedding reception, the food they dished up was incredible! We had an indulgent afternoon tea, complete with candy floss and enormous warm scones. The canapes received high praise from everyone, especially bacon wrapped prawns. The cheese trolley was spectacular too and the mini fish and chip cones were a hit. Our guests certainly were well fed!

We had a delicious cake baked by a family friend too – can’t wait to get the little bit I have left out of the freezer to tuck into at Christmas!

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All wedding pics by Maddie Waters Photography

Avocados everywhere in California

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Anyone who knows me knows I’m an avocado obsessive. I’ve loved them since before they were cool. So I was very happy with the abundance of gorgeous green avo-centred dishes out in California! I think my highlight was avocados on toast for breakfast in the penthouse restaurant at the Huntley Santa Monica, looking over views of LA.

Sky high dining at Hutong (The Shard)

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This was a fab foodie moment enjoyed with the Digital Blonde team, right at the very start of 2017 as combination Christmas and leaving do. Enjoying delicious Chinese food, with a glass of Champagne and spectacular night time views of the city was pretty magical.

Switzerland 2017

I don’t think I could pick a favourite moment from this trip as the food and drink in the alpine town of Zermatt is just so good. It’s definitely my happy place, fresh air, gluhwein and hearty (cheesy!) dishes that you actually feel you like you semi-deserve after a day of skiing. There was the gluhwein on our last day after coming down quite a scary slope successfully, a perfect lunch time Rosti or some of the best chocolate ever from the little chocolate shop opposite the station. Going here is always a treat for all the senses.

Kyoto Kitchen

I do love the food at Kyoto Kitchen, it’s fresh, delicate and delicious. We’ve had some fabulous meals here this year, with amazing recommendations from the owner Miff,  plus beautifully made gin and tonics or Sake to pair with. It’s always a fun and memorable experience dining here.

The Afternoon Tea Awards

What a brilliant occasion celebrating all things afternoon tea! I was lucky enough to be invited to these amazing awards by sponsor Newby Teas. It was great to see the winners unveiled and of course to sample the afternoon tea offering from the Grosvenor Hotel. I met some lovely journalists and fellow bloggers too, all whilst sipping bubbles and enjoying the full range of teas from Newby.

Thank you 2017, here’s to 2018…

2017 really has been a bumper year of food, fun and (alcohol-fuelled!) celebrations, it’s a wonder I can get into any of my clothes. I loved almost every minute of 2017, it’s going to be a tough year to top. So I’ll just say that I’m hoping for a slightly healthier 2018!

The Afternoon Tea Awards

I was lucky enough to attend second annual Afternoon Tea Awards at  London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, thanks to the event’s fabulous sponsors, luxury tea company, Newby Teas.

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As if that wasn’t exciting enough the awards were presented by author and star baker, Martha Collison and hosted by AfternoonTea.co.uk (a brilliant website for afternoon tea recommendations).

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Newby Teas welcomed us with gorgeous tea-filled goody bags and a chance to sample all their blends. There were also bubbles from Lanson and of course, some delicious afternoon tea treats. I think it’s fair to say it was certainly the best awards ceremony I’ve ever been too!

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The awards are set up to recognise the best in afternoon tea and tea service, from some of the UK’s best hotels and restaurants. A team of expert judges anonymously call in for afternoon tea and look at all aspects of the experience for each prestigious venue (how can I get this job?!).

So, where are the best of the best places to enjoy tea and cake?

Afternoon Tea Award Winners 2017

  • Best Traditional Afternoon Tea – Hotel Café Royal
  • Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea – Mirror Room at Rosewood London
  • Best Themed Afternoon Tea – Churchill Afternoon Tea at The Wellesley
  • Best Children’s Afternoon Tea – Millennium Hotel London Mayfair
  • Best Tea Service – Fortnum & Mason

There were also several venues who received a highly commended accolade, including local hotel Lainston House (see the full list here).

Newby Teas

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The team at Newby Teas are no stranger to awards themselves, they actually have over 100 awards, making them the world’s most-awarded international brand in high-end luxury tea. So naturally, I was keen to try their range and I’ve steadily been working my way through the goody bag. I have to say I am loving Newby Teas’ Milk Oolong blend, which is a yellow green in colour with a natural sweetness and creamy aroma of caramel. I’m also enjoying the green tea and earl grey blends.

Thank you to Newby Teas for the invite to the awards and to AfternoonTea.co.uk for putting on such a fabulous event.

***All the fabulous photos in this post were supplied by AfternoonTea.co.uk***