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The Classic Treat

Weekends. How precious they are. Come 5pm on a Friday evening the whole weekend lies ahead of you; a glorious 48 hours to be filled with whatever takes your fancy. Yet it can be taken away so quickly, eaten up by ‘adult things’ such as cleaning (who wants to clean midweek?), trips to the tip (after moving into our own home we always seem to hoard copious amounts of cardboard) and catching up with friends who no longer live in one place.

The one question I never seem to be able to find the answer to is why do 48 hours at work never pass by at the same speed? If you can’t slow down time then you might as well fill it with niceties, especially when you’ve been working all week long.

A quintessentially English pastime has to be afternoon tea, which has evolved recently from simple tea, sandwiches, cakes and scones to afternoon tea for men (here’s a few suggestions) and every theme you could think of (there’s even a space themed one).

This year my favourite Disney film was re-made into a live action blockbuster starring Emma Watson and has to be one of my favourite films of the year (I saw it twice). Imagine my delight when I was informed that there is a Beauty and the Beast themed afternoon tea at the Kensington Hotel called ‘Tale as Old as Time’ (click here to find out more) which, you guessed it, serves up treats that pay homage to this classic love story.

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Almost too good to eat? Of course not, all good things have to come to an end!

I’ve tried out quite a few afternoon teas over the last couple of years and what I loved about this one (apart from the theme which just elevates afternoon tea to a whole new level) was that it was served in courses. The first course was savoury: Bite-Sized Venison Pie, Cheese Souffle with Roscoff Onion Pissaladiere, and a Beef Ragu & Saffron Arancini served with Lemon Creme Fraiche.

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Then they brought out a cute array of Beauty & the Beast themed sweets: Vanilla & Gold Jelly presented in shot glasses with the ever-symbolic rose petal immersed inside, served with cream poured from Mrs. Potts spout; ‘try the grey stuff it’s delicious’ White Chocolate Mousse; Spiced Snow Ball Macaroon; Coconut & Chocolate and a marzipan Cogsworth face cheekily grinning back at you.

This was also served with finger sandwiches (a staple classic) and brioche baguettes with chocolate spread, which made a welcome change to scones.

The overall quality of the items was excellent however some were lacking flavour. The Vanilla & Gold Jelly tasted of nothing and the ‘try the grey stuff it’s delicious’ chocolate mousse again was quite bland, which was disappointing as it was presented beautifully in a Chip mug. However, I’d give 10/10 for presentation and creativity, as all the items linked in well with the film and made the whole experience very fun and Instagrammable. I kept waiting patiently for someone to come out dressed as the Beast, as that would have made my day…maybe the Kensington Hotel could add in an extra part of the package, a meet and greet the Beast! No? Just me? Perhaps not classy enough for SW7…

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The props were brilliant!

The price of this afternoon tea from 1st January 2018 is £38.50, which has gone up from the £35.00 we paid recently. Some may find this a disgusting price for tea, cakes and sandwiches but I think it’s worth the price tag for something so unique and we easily spent 2 hours there, so you can make a day out of it. Also, the hotel itself is lovely with warm, friendly and attentive staff plus you’re not crammed in like some other afternoon tea venues.

Now to finish it all off, some of my favourite quotes from the film:

“Take it with you so you’ll always have a way to look back … and remember me.” – Beast

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere! I want it more than I can tell!”– Belle

“She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.” – Narrator

“Here’s where she meets Prince Charming, but she won’t discover that it’s him ’til chapter three!” – Belle

I’m always on the lookout for other unique Afternoon Tea experiences so please comment below!

 

 

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The Wandering Path

I’m going to be 26 next month. Not a milestone birthday but one that has got me thinking. I honestly think the ages of 21-30 are some of the toughest years of your life and here’s why…

Let’s reflect:

Ages 0-12: time goes ever so slowly as a kid and those years are filled with excitement, new experiences and hope for the future.

Ages 12-16: admittedly life does get a little tough at these ages (thank you puberty) but you get to see your friends every day at school and even though you have to do exams you’re still hopeful for what the future brings.

Ages 16-21: exams still loom on the horizon but even though you may be a student you still have your mum and dad to fall back on for moral (and maybe financial) support. You’re at the age where you literally don’t have any money but are still feverishly excited at what passing exams/graduating/starting your first job may bring.

Then you have this period between ages 21 and 30 where so much is expected of you. As soon as you start climbing the career ladder you feel like you need to start achieving more (whether that be by buying your first house, getting married, having kids for example) whilst at the same time you are desperately trying to figure out whether what you are doing with your life is right.

And who knows what is ‘right’? I’ve realised recently that at aged 25 I am still so young and have it all ahead of me. There’s no rush to try and figure everything out and although I don’t want to just ‘go with the flow’, I certainly do not need to start meticulously planning every small detail.

My partner sent me this image a couple of weeks ago and it put everything into perspective:

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As the image illustrates, there are people like J K Rowling who for years didn’t have enough money and survived on benefits. But she kept on grafting and kept on believing and then she made it big. My view on this is the fact that she didn’t ‘have it all’ in the first place was what kept her so driven because she needed that break. She most likely wouldn’t have had that determination in her early-mid twenties.

The squiggle in this image is sometimes how I feel; a little unsure due to wandering thoughts about who I want to ‘be’.

I’ve finally realised that there is no true path to success and you certainly don’t need to feel like you’ve done it all by the time you are 30. A lot of people find inspiration in other areas of their lives; such as when they have kids or when they’re going through a tough time mentally or financially.

Life wasn’t designed to be mapped out. Think about our cavemen ancestors and how they simply lived day by day, with little choices or decisions to be made. It is the modern world that has made us constantly strive to be better (social media, you are to blame) and there is certainly no problem with ambition (if there was no ambition we would still be stuck as cavemen!) but once in a while it’s healthy to take a step back and think ‘hey, I’m doing okay’.

Please leave your comments below. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on what you deem ‘success’ to look like.

 

 

The Dating Game

The Dating Game

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Dating. I’m sure it never used to be hard in the ‘old days’.

When young, often the image of dating conjured up the scene in the film Grease where each girl is selected by a guy and whisked off their feet for a romantic dance. And no one was left behind.

The reality in the 21st century is a far cry from the portrayal of American High School Sweet Hearts at a 1950’s Prom.

But perhaps we do need to revere the fact that we have so much choice. We no longer have to rely on the talent within your village or town. Not only do we get to select a postcode, we get to select a radius.

Now fast forward to the Bridget Jones’ era. Then fast forward even further to the invention of Tinder and you arrive to the era of modern dating.

Or so you thought…

Tired of Tinder? 

Tinder was created in 2012 so is not even ‘so last year’ but more like ‘so 5 years ago’.

Modern dating moves quickly, so if you are hooked on dating apps but bored of just swiping then look no further…

Hater

Rather than matching on likes, you can now match on hates. Sign up  (only available on iOS at present) by using your Facebook and the premise is simple: you are presented with numerous topics and your job is to decide whether you hate it, love it, like it or dislike it.

The categories are updated daily and the app will start finding matches for you, whilst also giving you a compatibility rating. Like Tinder you still use the swipe left and swipe right function to filter out those you’re interested in and those that are a downright no.

This app seems like a fun, novel way of generating conversation starters. There also seems to be a bit of science behind it all; the creator Brendan Alper read in a study that people who dislike the same things form closer bonds with each other.

Lime

If you like to keep fit then Lime may be the app for you. Lime focuses on matching up people with similar exercise levels and by syncing the app with Google’s Fitness App or Apple’s Health App you can easily see fitness data, such as how many steps that person has done that day. Because, er, that is of greatest importance apparently…

Do not fear, the swiping element has not been lost in this app. Both individuals need to swipe right in order to connect with one another and you can easily see at any given time who is nearby. It even shows you how many steps away that person is. Can that be described as a little stalkerish, perhaps?

Time to throw away that gym membership and get moving?!

Bristlr 

Connecting those with beards to those who want to stroke beards

Dating apps have officially become incredibly niche. Love ’em or hate ’em, beards are here to stay (although if you hate ’em then perhaps the Hater app is the one for you. You can then match with someone who will never crave the desire to grow a beard and you get to live happily ever after, bristle free).

The first question that the  Bristlr site asks you is ‘do you have a beard’. And off you go – this one doesn’t mess about.

Focusing on beards does seem very specific and the fact their website states that the founder created it as a joke does lead you to question how likely it is to find love. But with over half a million connections made, it shouldn’t be laughed at.

Just pray that you don’t connect with this guy:

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