Bank Holiday Bits & Bobs

Ahhh, the end of a four day working week – lovely! Wasn’t the bank holiday weather brilliant? I tried to make the most of it with some Winchester walks and a new forest day trip too. Here’s a little look my bank holiday weekend in pictures…

The perfect mode of transport for a bank holiday day trip…

Day tripping in style!

Day tripping in vintage style!

We paid a visit to the pretty little town of Lyndhurst in the New Forest…

I do love a bit of bunting!

I do love a bit of bunting!

We called in at The Tea House for some refreshments – how could I not with a name like that?!

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Tea and cake heaven!

It had to be a cup of vintage earl grey of course, which was absolutely lovely!

A pretty little pyramid of tea

A pretty little pyramid of tea

There were so many tempting cakes to choose from as well as scones, sandwiches and lovely lunch options too. I could have eaten everything on the menu but in the end made the snap decision to enjoy an omelette (I’m terrible at making them myself so it’s a treat to have a nice one made for me).

Too many cakes to choose from

Too many cakes to choose from!

Back in Winchester, the sunny weather left me a bit of golf widow – but I made the most of it with walks along the water meadows and up St. Giles Hill – you can’t beat that view of the city…

Beautiful Winchester

Beautiful Winchester!

Somewhere I also found time to eat at Hotel Du Vin (very nice!) and fit in a trip to the cinema – how great is Winchester’s cinema? Okay so there’s not much parking, it’s a bit pricey and the popcorn can be hit or miss – but you can take in a nice glass of wine or a G&T! It does add to the cinematic experience I find!

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The fabulous HDV Winchester

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Love this cinema!

Hope I’ve provided you with some weekend inspiration…whatever you get up to this weekend – enjoy it!

xXx

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Ultimate Afternoon Tea at Bettys…

I recently enjoyed a little pre-Christmas girly trip to York with my lovely mother and sister…and when in York there’s a certain tea room that’s a must visit – I’m talking about Bettys of course!

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Okay, so yes this place is a total tourist trap and there’s usually a substantial queue to get in, but if you embrace this and celebrate the fact that this tea room is a world famous attraction, you’ll have a fabulous time.  Essentially it’s like visiting one of London’s hot spots, whatever day or time you choose to go, there will usually always be plenty of others who had the same idea.

Three ladies full of festive cheer were certainly not going to let anything stand in the way of an afternoon tea at Bettys…feast your eyes on this…

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Mmmmm…do you want a closer look at that cake…?

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On to the tea! Being that it was almost Christmas I enjoyed a seasonal special, Bettys Spiced Christmas tea…

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A black tea with light notes of cinnamon, spices and citrus it was lovely both with and without milk.

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After ordering another round of tea and loading up with souvenirs and gifts to take back home we departed feeling full and happy. York’s a wonderful city to explore, especially in winter…cold, crisp air and beautiful buildings full of character and charm. I suppose in many ways it’s very similar to Winchester really, only larger and somehow grander, probably why it appeals to me so much. Here are a few of the trip’s highlight’s aside from the tea and cake fest at Bettys…

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During our trip the streets of York were host to a rather magical ice festival, with quirky works of art carved out of ice dotted around the cobbled streets. These were two of my favourites…

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I must say a huge thank you to my mum for making the trip happen, and to both my mother and sister for a wonderful time full of fun, food and laughter xXx

Celebrations at Soho’s Secret Tea Room

Here at FoodTeaLife I don’t venture outside of Hampshire too often, but when my good friend Ellie invited me to her birthday celebrations at Soho’s Secret Tea Room I thought it might just be worth the train fare. And indeed it was, we enjoyed a fabulous feast of cakes, scones, cucumber sandwiches and course tea.

Afternoon tea delights enjoyed at Soho’s Secret Tea Room

More delightful cakes and scones!

It was an absolutely delightful experience and well worth the trip for non-Londoners. Full of vintage details from the gramophone playing 1940s jazz to the adorable tea cups and cake stands, you feel as though you’ve stepped back into a simpler, happier time. I’d advise donning your best vintage attire for a visit so that you get the full escapist experience.

Soho’s Secret Tea Room is just lovely and full of vintage charm

On to the teas…There was a nice selection of loose leaf teas to choose from but not so many that it was daunting, I quickly picked out a lovely sounding Lapsang blend and enjoyed it very much. It was especially nice to drink from a china cup too (I’m a subscriber to the theory that tea tastes better this way).

Pretty china cups and saucers

Between our party of ten we shared five afternoon tea cake stands of delicious home baked goodies and though we tried our hardest we couldn’t quite finish it all!

Our post tea party table…

Luckily the lovely staff gave us paper take away bags to ensure we could all enjoy our cake later. Aside from the loving the tea, I  also thought the scones were perfectly done and good size (not too large!) too. And though I didn’t try it, the lemon meringue pie received very positive reviews from across the table too. All in all I can only really describe the entire outing as just lovely and pure delight.

So Hampshire folk, next time you pay a visit to the West End be sure step into Soho’s Secret Tea Room for some relaxing refreshment and indulgent 1940s escapism.

Lovely Local Finds…

Winchester and its surrounding villages have some wonderful places to eat. It’s full of interesting, tucked way little places, some are a little harder to find or a little less well known, hidden down side streets, underground or above shops. This week’s entry is dedicated to these places…here are a  few of my favourites…

The Forte Tea Rooms

Known as ‘Winchester’s best kept secret’…this is one of those places that you notice and always mean to pop into, then when finally you do it turns out to be an amazing little discovery (which plenty of people have already discovered). There’s some steep steps to climb to reach this place but it’s well worth the climb! If you’re a tea lover like me you’ll love this place, they have plenty of lovely loose leaf teas to choose from and a great menu of freshly prepared food, tasty soups and sandwiches, hot food, cooked breakfasts and cakes – what more you could want?!

Bean Below & Twyford Stores

This place gets a huge endorsement from me as a regular customer! Twyford stores is an excellent source of amazing local produce, whether it’s Lyburn Cheeses , the Oven Door Bakery, Judes Ice Cream or Hedge End Butchers.  The appropriately named Bean Below cafe is equally is a fantastic with great sandwiches, smoothies, teas (from local tea company Ahmad Tea) and a seasonally changing evening menu for the weekends. If you haven’t t ventured out to Bean Below – give it a try sometime soon!

Ginger Two

Okay, so this place is fairly well known but it is off the main high street and very easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. It’s a truly fabulous tea-room, cafe and also a sort of homewares boutique. The cakes are absolutely divine and there’s a great selection of hot beverages to choose from (always a win with me!).

Leaf Bean

This cute little cafe in Stockbridge Road used to be my local point of call when I lived in the Fulflood area, it’s a charming cafe that does great food – as well as takeaway hot drinks (very handy in the days when I walked to work!). It’s really family friendly too – for all the yummy mummies out there!

The Bridge Patisserie

This place is right at the bottom of town and always makes me feel like I’ve found a lovely little secret place. Being a patisserie there’s plenty of indulgent sweet treats on offer (including handmade chocolates!), but they’ve also got a nice selection of baguettes and paninis on the savoury side of things, as well as a nice relaxed space to sit down and eat in.

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The cafe in the guildhall can sometimes be easy to miss, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Serving up tasty light bites made from locally sourced ingredients, the bright and spacious layout makes for a laid back atmosphere to sit and enjoy.

These are just a few of my favourites that I highly recommend a visit to. I’m  sure there’s plenty I’ve missed, maybe even some I don’t know about – do let me know your own local recommendations and Hampshire favourites…