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Afternoon Tea, Eating Out, Food

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea

Charlie and the chocolate factory afternoon tea

Cardamon Tea Lounge

Cardamon Tea Lounge & Shop in Colchester is one of our favourite tea rooms to visit! They feature on our list of The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex. Cardamon Tea Lounge specialise in magical and enchanting themed afternoon teas. Each month they introduce us to an exciting new theme. For the month of July is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed afternoon treat is such a delight. So much effort, planning and preparation has gone into each themed afternoon tea. Your table is decorated with fun themed props. Props range from funny Wonka glasses, giant sweets and even a Wonka-vision selfie frame so you can snap some memories from your visit.

The Cardamon Tea Lounge have over 50 wonderful varieties of tea to choose from to go with your afternoon tea. The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea is also served with a yummy chocolate milkshake.

Savouries

The sandwiches served are a great selection, salmon and cream cheese, Cheddar and caramelised onion and a mini egg mayonnaise roll. We even received a Nutella and raspberry sandwich and it was a delicious taste explosion! Perfect for any Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Fan! Quite delicious!

Cake stand with sweets and cakes, Wonka glasses Top view Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea

Sweets

This themed afternoon tea came with so many colourful, exciting sweet treats. We enjoyed a cheesecake topped with candy floss and blueberries, a cupcake with a hidden surprise, a macaroon pop, a Wonka bar and we even got an everlasting gobstopper!

Lastly, no Charlie and the Chocolate themed Afternoon Tea would be complete without a ‘chocolate’ scone! A nice variation from your average plain or fruit scone.

Candy floss topped cheesecakes from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon TeaClose up of sweets on the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea

Children’s Platter

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory children’s afternoon tea platter is great fun! A tasty selection of sandwiches, fruit sweets and a chocolate dessert. It also comes with a mini chocolate freak shake! The children’s platters are such good value and children find them so exciting to eat. A real treat!

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea is £20 per head and available to book for the month of July 2018 at the Cardamon Tea Lounge & Shop. Pop over to their website or Facebook page to book or for further information.

To read our reviews of Cardamon Tea Lounge’s other fantastic themed afternoon teas in Essex. Please see below:

Wizards themed Afternoon Tea, for any Harry Potter fan.

A Tale of Peter Rabbit Themed Afternoon Tea.

Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea, Practically Perfect in every way.

Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea

Thank you for reading ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea’

Home, Shows, Unusual

Alice In Wonderland Ballet Show – Let’s All Dance

The cast from The Alice in Wonderland Show with Lets All Dance

A Ballet for the whole family

I took Eden to see her very first ballet, ‘The Princess & the Frog‘ by Let’s All Dance. It was a magical experience that we both really enjoyed. I then found out that Let’s All Dance’s next production was going to be ‘Alice in Wonderland’ which is a particular favourite story of ours! Even better, the Alice in Wonderland ballet was touring and visiting our local theatre. I booked tickets right away. These ballet shows are perfect as a first ballet and to entertain the whole family. They are suitable for all and especially aimed at 2-11 year olds, including children with special needs. The productions last around 30-40 mins so perfect for smaller children. You also get the opportunity for a photo with the cast on stage after the show which is really exciting for the children to meet the characters.

Alice in wonderland ballet stall with programs for sale

Alice In Wonderland Ballet

Let’s All Dance brought the wonderful story of Alice in Wonderland to life with beautiful dancing, much loved characters and super costumes in this magical ballet production.

The ballet began with a very charming Alice who disappeared down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. She met many of the characters along the way. Alice met the White Rabbit first. The dancing was so beautiful, fun and energetic. It was so mesmerising to watch. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum were great characters and really made us all laugh. They were definitely the children’s favourite. The pair danced cheekily with Alice on stage.

On our journey through Wonderland we were also introduced to the angry Red Queen, she was quite a character! She was not happy with Alice who ate her chocolates and chased after her through the crowd. During the performance the characters left the stage to interact with the audience and the children loved it… They even got to stroke the flamingo puppets. It really brought the production to life and engaged with the audience!

Alice in Wonderland was a truly spectacular children’s ballet show. I found it even more enjoyable than the Princess and the Frog, we really liked all the extra characters. The way the story was told was also incredibly clever… Alice even shrunk and grew just like the real story! The dancing was superb and so hypnotic to watch. I would absolutely recommend trying one of these beautiful ballet shows. I would of loved for this one to be even longer, we enjoyed it so much! We can’t wait to see the next Let’s All Dance production. To see what coming next, visit their website.

Don’t be late for this very important date!

To book tickets for Alice in Wonderland please visit the Let’s All Dance.

 

The cast from The Alice in Wonderland Show with Lets All Dance

Alice in Wonderland Ballet, the red queen

 

Thank you for reading ‘Alice In Wonderland Ballet Show with Let’s All Dance’.

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CulturedKids
Written in collaboration with Let’s All Dance, all comments and opinions are strictly my own.
Afternoon Tea, Eating Out, Food, Home

The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex by Little miss eden rose

 The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

Anyone that knows me will know I love Afternoon Teas! Whether it’s to celebrate a birthday, a baby shower, to catch up with friends or spend time with my family. I enjoy the whole experience. I’ve visited many great Afternoon Tea venues in my time and after writing about some of my favourite afternoon teas, I thought it was time to review some of The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex. What a journey it has been, I’ve discovered that Essex has some true gems to offer! So without hesitation and in no particular order, here they are The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex:

Roslin Beach Hotel, Southend

What an utter delight it was to visit The Roslin Beach Hotel in Southend today for afternoon tea. Set in absolutely beautiful surroundings, with attentive staff and some of most delicious sandwiches I’ve tasted!

Roslin beach Hotel collage The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

The Roslin Beach Hotel in Southend Essex, is a stylish and luxurious hotel in a quiet location overlooking the sea. From the moment I arrived at The Roslin, I was excited. Greeted by a most beautiful floral display at the entrance, as soon as you step inside the Roslin Beach Hotel, you know it is going to be a good experience. The doorways are decorated with gorgeous floral displays and the venue decor is modern and classy. I felt that everything had a luxurious feel to it. The staff couldn’t be more helpful and the Afternoon Tea certainly lived up to my expectations.

Afternoon Tea at The Roslin Beach Hotel was enjoyable from start to finish. The sandwiches had a great selection of fillings, from roast beef and horseradish to coronation chicken,  they were generously filled and extremely fresh. A quiche is served alongside the savouries. The Roslin invites you to replenish your sandwiches at no extra cost which is always a nice touch.

The selection of cakes were some of the best I have tried during my tour of the Best Afternoon Teas in Essex. We were served a delicious  array of mini sweet treats and the creme brûlée was simply to die for!

I felt The Roslin Beach Hotel was an amazing experience, from start to finish. I really enjoyed my luxurious experience, I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed! Afternoon Teas at The Roslin Beach Hotel start at £21 with the option to add a glass of Prosecco. Children’s afternoon teas are also available. For more information or to book please visit their website.

Stifford Hall Hotel, Thurrock

Today I’m at Stifford Hall Hotel as part of my journey reviewing the Best Afternoon Teas in Essex! Stifford Hall Hotel did not disappoint. Simply lovely nestled in a cosy fire lit library, with a feast of sandwiches and delicious cakes!!!

Stifford Hall Hotel The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

Stifford Hall Hotel in Thurrock is an elegant 18th century Georgian mansion set amongst pretty grounds. Our afternoon tea was set up in the library. Cosy and relaxed it had a great feel to it with a beautiful stained glass window. They also serve afternoon tea in their Garden Suite which is light and airy with pretty views over the gardens.

I was blown away by the amount of sandwiches we received with Stifford Hall Hotel’s afternoon Tea. I received a cake stand full of sandwiches with a huge selection of fillings, a tier of meat, fish and vegetarian. They were all very fresh and extremely delicious. It’s not often I am outdone by the sandwiches but this was a feast and even beat me!

The cakes were a good and varied selection and very nice. There were some amazing custard and fruit tarts and the scones came all ready topped with a huge dollop of clotted cream, jam and a strawberry.

I really enjoyed my visit to Stifford Hall Hotel, it’s a real hidden gem and absolutely deserves its place on The Best Afternoon Teas In Essex list. Afternoon Tea at Stifford Hall Hotel is £15.95 which is excellent value for money. For further information or to book please visit their website. They also do fantastic roast dinners on Sundays which I definitely recommend, again very good value for money.

Merrymeade Tea Room, Brentwood

Enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea at Merrymeade Tea Room! Great value and you can even enjoy soaking up the rays on their terrace while the kids play in the gardens.

Merrymeade Tea Room The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

Merrymeade Tea Room is set within Merrymeade House in Brentwood, Essex. A quaint traditional tea room with views over the gardens and opening onto a Terrace with outdoor seating. I felt Merrymeade Tea Room deserved their place on ‘The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex’ list as they offer such brilliant value for money in a lovely traditional setting with the added bonus of dining on the terrace. It is the perfect spot to to relax and enjoy afternoon tea whilst children can play in the gardens.

Their traditional afternoon tea is £11.95 and includes sandwiches, scones and sliced cake. The luxury afternoon tea is £13.95 with the addition of chocolate dipped strawberries, grapes and unlimited tea.

You can choose 3 options from a good selection of sandwiches, we opted for coronation chicken (a favourite of mine), chicken, bacon & avocado and Brie & cranberry. The sandwiches were incredibly fresh, generously filled and very tasty.

Whilst Merrymeade Tea Room doesn’t claim to bake all of their own cakes and scones, they do offer a good selection of traditional homemade cakes. I can personally vouch for the lemon drizzle cake, it was moist and full of flavour. The chocolate strawberries were a lovely addition to the afternoon tea and tasted amazing!

Merrymeade House also offer a children’s afternoon tea which is a very generous portion. For further information or to book please visit their website.

Prested Hall Hotel, Colchester

Tried out Prested Hall’s Afternoon Tea today, think oak beams, comfortable surroundings with a hint of luxury and scones to die for! What a treat… a traditional afternoon tea but like they say ‘just that little bit different!’

Prested Hall Hotel The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

Prested Hall in Colchester Essex is a gorgeous 15th century Manor House set at the end of a long and impressive driveway. I absolutely loved the relaxed and comfortable feeling I had when I entered Prested Hall. It’s a wedding venue, boutique hotel and spa, traditional crossed with modern, makes for a great experience.

Our afternoon tea at a Prested Hall was set within the cosy library, a lovely room where I felt as if I were ‘Lady of the Manor’. They also serve afternoon tea in The Garden Room and The Orangery.

The afternoon tea that arrived was very impressive. The sandwiches included some more unusual fillings from your regular afternoon teas which was a really nice addition. They were very fresh and generously filled.

The scones were some of the best I have tasted, lightly spiced and served warm with a choice of jams and clotted cream. They were a real delight. The cakes and sweets were all very good. A really nice selection of cheesecake and other perfectly sized sweet treats.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Prested Hall, from the sweeping driveway, traditional and classy venue to the very enjoyable afternoon tea! It’s definitely one for our list of the Best Afternoon Teas in Essex! The menus are changed regularly and available online. They are very reasonably priced at £16.50 for their Traditional Afternoon Tea or £23 for the Champagne Afternoon Tea. Prested Hall also offers a children’s afternoon tea. For further information or to book please visit their website.

Cardamon Tea Lounge & Shop, Colchester

The Cardamon Tea Lounge and Shop is a quaint traditional tea room in Colchester. They absolutely deserve their place on The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex. It is a real hidden gem, we originally stumbled across it one day and have been regulars ever since. We aren’t the only ones that like it, it won the Essex Life Food and Drink Awards 2017 for Best Coffee/Tea Shop. Now its quickly becoming a popular spot for wonderful and imaginative Themed Afternoon Tea in Essex.

The Cardamon Tea Lounge offer something that little bit different from everyone else. They specialise in themed afternoon teas, each month brings a new theme. The attention to detail is incredible. I have reviewed several of their themed afternoon teas, you can read about some of my favourites below:

Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

A Wizards Themed Afternoon Tea

Practically Perfect Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea

Cardamon Tea Lounge The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

The afternoon teas at The Cardamon Tea Lounge always vary so much with exciting fillings, incredible home made cakes and desserts. I am always amazed and surprised at the sheer imagination and thought gone into each and every afternoon tea. Themed children’s afternoon tea platters are also available and are sure to delight almost every child with many themes to choose from throughout the year.

Themed afternoon teas are £20 per head. Their Alice in Wonderland theme afternoon tea runs throughout the year and is £14.95 and their luxury Queen of Hearts afternoon tea is £20 per head. Childrens platters are £6.50.

For further information or to book please visit their website, where you can find their afternoon tea event calendar.

The County Hotel, Chelmsford

What a treat, enjoying not only a traditional afternoon tea but also The County Hotel’s Best of British Afternoon Tea. An excellent twist on a traditional classic!

County Hotel The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

The County Hotel is an elegant and classic hotel situated in Chelmsford Town Centre. Afternoon Tea at The County Hotel is served in the award winning Samphire Restaurant. You can opt for either the classic afternoon tea for £14.95 per head or their Best of British afternoon tea for £20 per head. They also serve childrens afternoon teas.

The classic afternoon tea came with a selection of freshly made finger sandwiches, not one but two warm hand made scones per head and a wonderful selection of handmade sweet treats. It was a really nice traditional afternoon tea and enjoyed it very much.

The Best of British afternoon tea was simply amazing! It consisted of roast beef and coronation chicken sandwiches and then some hot savoury delights. We enjoyed a scotch egg, chunky sausage roll, mini fish and chips, a Ham and Cheese Croque Monsieur and some pork crackling sticks. The sweet stuff didn’t disappoint either, some of my most favourites were on offer! A chocolate brownie, carrot cake and a chocolate eclair. I thought the Best of British Afternoon Tea at The County Hotel was an excellent twist on the usual afternoon tea. I would definitely recommend trying it out!

For further information or to book please visit their website.

Orsett Hall Hotel, Orsett

Lovely sunny afternoon enjoying a wonderful afternoon tea and children’s afternoon tea at Orsett Hall! The Garden Brasserie is just so pretty, even more beautiful in the sunshine! We even enjoyed a wander around the grounds!

Orsett Hal Hotel The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

Orsett Hall Hotel is such a pretty venue, a stylish boutique hotel and wedding venue with Spa. They serve their afternoon teas in the beautiful Garden Brasserie with floral-inspired décor and lovely views of the hotel grounds. Its really is a spectacular room with the most stunning multi-coloured chandeliers.

Afternoon Tea at Orsett Hall feels like a luxury affair, gorgeous surroundings and attentive staff. Sandwiches are filled with the traditional afternoon tea fillings and comes with a warm mini quiche. The sweets and scones are always very good at Orsett Hall. On this occasion I had enjoyed the most delicious white chocolate and ginger cheesecake. It blew my mind, it was absolutely amazing!

Afternoon Tea at Orsett Hall Hotel starts at £20.95 with the option to upgrade to a Champagne afternoon tea for £28.95. They also offer a savoury afternoon tea (which I am yet to try) and a children’s afternoon tea which is brilliant. It is served on its own mini cake stand! My daughter loved all of it!

The Chichester Hotel, Wickford

Afternoon tea at one of our favourite venues in Essex, The Chichester Hotel, Wickford, Essex. (Amazing Sunday dinners too!).

The Chichester Hotel The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

The afternoon tea at The Chichester Hotel in Wickford already features within my post about my favourite afternoon teas. The Chichester Hotel is a charming renovated 13th century farmhouse in Wickford, Essex. The afternoon tea is served in the Gallery Restaurant. I can personally recommend their fantastic sunday roasts!

The Chichester offers great value for money at £14.95 per head for their afternoon tea. A lovely relaxed environment and the staff are always so helpful. The sandwiches are always freshly made and well filled. The thick cut ham was amazing! The sweets are always good, normally a yummy cheesecake with a selection of cakes, you also get a plain and a fruit scone.

Cake stand with cakes and tiptree jams. The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex

Thank you for reading ‘The Best Afternoon Teas in Essex’. I had such a wonderful time visiting each of these venues and would happily recommend each and every one. If you know of an amazing afternoon venue in Essex that I need to try, please pop me a note in the comments!

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Written in collaboration with the above venues, please note all comments and opinions are my own. All prices correct at time of publishing.

Afternoon Tea, Eating Out, Food, Home

Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

Scones, sandwiches and cakes set up for the Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

The Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea is appearing at one of our favourite tea rooms in Colchester, Essex. Cardamon Tea Lounge & Coffee Shop host themed afternoon teas, each month brings a new theme. Running for the month of June 2018 and absolutely perfect for Fathers Day is the Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea! Elementary my Dear Watson!

Cardamon Tea Lounge offer over 50 different tea variations, so there is something for everyone. My personal favourite is Karak Chai, a wonderful blend of Assam, cardamon and made with condensed milk.

Props ready for Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

Savoury

The Sherlock Holmes afternoon was a real treat, served upon a board game with lots of fun props, magnifying glass, hat, pipe etc. It really looked the part.

‘A game is afoot’ sandwiches were served upon a gold tray. A delicious selection consisting of a roast beef and egg mayonnaise mini roll (which was amazing) and then cheddar cheese & caramelised onion, ham & mustard and lastly smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Served warm were cheese and bacon mini rolls, which were almost like a scone with a soft and cheesy centre. These were simply diving and shouldn’t be missed!

Scones, sandwiches and cakes set up for the Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

A tray of rolls and sandwiches for Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

 

Sweet

The sweets arrived and they did not disappoint! The spiced scones were again served warm with butter, clotted cream and jam. They had a great flavour!

‘A logical conclusion’ cakes were beautifully displayed on a framed newspaper print, complete with magnifying glass and liquorice pipe! A real treat for any chocolate lovers out there. A chocolate cheesecake, salted caramel brownie and the most delicious macaroon that melted in the mouth! The cakes were a wonderful conclusion to the afternoon tea, I enjoyed every bite!

Spiced scones Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

Sweet selection, cheesecake, brownies, Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

Children’s Sherlock Holmes Children’s Platter

A children’s version of the Sherlock Holmes themed afternoon tea is also available. They are always so well themed with a mix of sweet and savoury and served with a drink. The children always love them! A bargain for £6.50 per child.

Childrens platter Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

The Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea is £20 per head and available to book for the month of June 2018 at the Cardamon Tea Lounge & Shop. Pop over to their website or Facebook page to book or for further information.

To read our reviews of Cardamon Tea Lounge’s other fantastic themed afternoon teas in Essex. Please see below:

Wizards themed Afternoon Tea, for any Harry Potter fan.

A Tale of Peter Rabbit Themed Afternoon Tea.

Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea, Practically Perfect in every way.

Thank you for reading ‘Sherlock Holmes Afternoon Tea’.

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instagram Sherlock Holmes Themed Afternoon Tea

Written in collaboration with Cardamon Tea Lounge, all views and opinions are my own.

Afternoon Tea, Eating Out, Food, Home, Lifestyle

‘Practically Perfect’ Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea

Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea at Cardamon Tea Lounge

‘Practically Perfect’ inspired by Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea is appearing at one of our favourite tea rooms in Colchester, Essex. Cardamon Tea Lounge & Coffee Shop host themed afternoon teas, each month brings a new theme. Running for the month of May 2018 ‘Practically Perfect’ themed afternoon tea is sure to delight any Mary Poppins fan!

‘Practically Perfect’ A Mary Poppins inspired Themed Afternoon Tea

Cardamon Tea Lounge always pay so much attention to detail on their themed afternoon teas and this Mary Poppins inspired afternoon tea is no exception. We choose from one of the 50 choices of tea to go along with our afternoon tea. I can personally recommend Karak Chai, a wonderful blend of Assam, cardamon and made with condensed milk. It was amazing!

The ‘Practically Perfect’ afternoon tea was beautifully displayed with lots of hints from the much loved film.

Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea view

Savoury

The afternoon tea consisted of some delicious savouries served in a picnic basket. We enjoyed an egg mayo mini roll, salmon and cream cheese wrap, cheese & cucumber sandwich and a tuna & sweet corn sandwich. I love how The Cardamon Tea Lounge make their sandwiches with mixed breads, one side white and one side brown! A unique but very tasty idea! This afternoon tea also included your very own teacup salad finished with Feta, walnuts, red onion and strawberries.

Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea sandwiches in picnic basket

Sweet

The sweets for the Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea were very exciting. We enjoyed lemon and poppy seed scones with clotted cream & jam. The scones were accompanied by lots of other sweet treats. A homemade Victoria sponge, a kite shaped brownie and your own spoonful of sugar to name but a few. There was even a chocolate umbrella!

Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea collage of pictures

Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea close up of salad in teacups with strawberries

Scones and jam Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea

To make your visit even more exciting, Cardamon Tea Lounge are offering two very special dates (5th and 26th May) where for a small extra charge you get to meet Mary Poppins herself! It’s sure to be a very special day!

Children’s Mary Poppins themed afternoon tea platter

Cardamon Tea Lounge make lots of themed platters for children! At just £6.50, the children’s platter includes a yummy milkshake or drink, shaped sandwiches, along with lots of yummy biscuits, chocolates and sweets! Each one carefully designed to fit in with the film. Eden absolutely loves the kids platters and the Mary Poppins inspired platter was no exception!

The ‘Practically Perfect’, Mary Poppins inspired Afternoon Tea is running for the month of May 2018 and is £20 per head (at time of publishing).

Children’s platter is £6.50.

Children’s platter on a tray Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea Children’s Mary Poppins afternoon tea and child dressed as Mary Poppins

Pop over to their website or Facebook page to book or for further information.

To read our reviews of Cardamon Tea Lounge’s other fantastic themed afternoon teas in Essex. Please see below:

Wizards themed Afternoon Tea, for any Harry Potter fan.

A Tale of Peter Rabbit Themed Afternoon Tea.

Thank you for reading ‘Practically Perfect Themed Afternoon Tea – Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea’.

Spoonful of sugar Mary Poppins Themed Afternoon Tea

Written in collaboration with Cardamon Tea Lounge, all views and opinions are my own.

fitness, Food, Home, Lifestyle

Relax and unwind with David lloyd, not just a gym…

david lloyd collage photos relax and unwind with david lloyd

Relax and unwind with David Lloyd Clubs

I regularly go to the gym, workout and then leave. Sometimes I stop off for a quick coffee or breakfast, but often overlooking the other great facilities that are available to me. I go to the gym to get into shape and then go about my day to day activities. Recently I’ve had a stressful time in my personal life. It can really take its toll on your mental health so I’ve needed to learn to relax more and find some ‘me time’. I’ve looked for ways to help me to de-stress and I now feel like I’m finally learning to relax and unwind with David Lloyd.

Over the past few weeks I’ve made sure to book into some of the more relaxing classes like Pilates and Body Balance. I always walk out of a class feeling so good, feeling like I am benefiting both my mind and body. Recently I’ve been using the David Lloyd club as a spa experience. I’ve met up with friends, relaxed by the pool, treated myself to a jacuzzi, followed by a steam or sauna session. I have enjoyed eating some delicious lunches, relaxing in the quiet room with a book and catching up with friends on a comfy sofa in the lounge over a coffee (or wine!). When the weather gets warmer I’m really looking forward to making the most of the outdoor pool and relaxing on a sun lounger outside, dreaming of warmer climates!

A collage of images at David LLoyd, swimming pool, a flatbread, gym equipment and studio

A collage of images at David LLoyd, outdoor swimming pool, lounge, coffee cup

Fun for kids

David Lloyd has been great for my daughter too, I’ve been able to get some much needed ‘me time’ whilst Eden is busy having fun. David Lloyd offer a mix of sports and games clubs, dancing, football, along with creative art and craft classes. She has an amazing time in one of the many classes or meeting new friends playing in the soft play area. It’s allowed me to just sit quietly with a coffee and catch up on life! Sometimes we forget about our mental well being and how important it is to look after ourselves both physically and mentally. I always train hard and try to eat well (in between the afternoon teas)! I now know to spend a little bit more time focusing on me and relaxing more too! It has really helped me get back on track these past few weeks. I’ve continued with my usual classes in the gym and incorporated some relaxing using the other facilities.

My local David Lloyd Club hosts lots of brilliant social activities too, whether it’s a theatre coach trip to the Westend or a Casino night in house. The kids are not forgotten either… there were Chocolate making parties at Easter, a fabulous panto at Christmas and lots of great things on for kids throughout the year! Once a month they even have a children’s entertainer come down to party with the kids with no extra to pay! The kids absolutely love it, especially Eden, she is a party animal!

David lloyd, eden swimming, kids club with a balloon hat and a view of the soft play area

Check out David Lloyd’s website or pop into your local club to see what activities or offers they have available! You would be surprised David Lloyd is not just a gym but also a great social experience too and perfect for kids. See why we love being members at our local David lloyd here.

Thank you for reading ‘relax and unwind with David lloyd, not just a gym’.

david lloyd collage, gym equipment and people smiling

Written in collaboration with David Lloyd, all views and comments are my own.

Afternoon Tea, Eating Out, Food, Home

A Tale of Peter Rabbit Themed Afternoon Tea in Essex

Cardamon Tea Lounge

With the recent release of Peter Rabbit we were super excited to try out A Tale of Peter Rabbit Themed Afternoon Tea at one of our favourite tea rooms in Colchester, Essex. Cardamon Tea Lounge & Coffee Shop host themed afternoon teas, each month brings a new theme. Running for the month of April 2018 ‘A Tale of Peter Rabbit’ themed afternoon tea is sure to delight any Beatrix Potter fan.

A Tale of Peter rabbit themed afternoon tea

A Tale of Peter Rabbit Themed Afternoon Tea

Cardamon Tea Lounge pay so much attention to detail on their themed afternoon teas and ‘A Tale of Peter Rabbit’ themed afternoon tea is no exception. On arrival your table is laid with your very own grass mat, complete with flowers and carrot accessories, setting the scene for an exciting afternoon tea. We choose one from over 50 choices of tea to go along with our food.

The afternoon tea consisted of Mr McGregors garden goods, a selection of delicious sandwiches, wraps and bread rolls filled with delights straight from the garden. Cream cheese and radish sandwich, egg mayo and advocado roll, cream cheese and asparagus wrap, houmous pot with veg to dip and a wonderful fresh feta and spinach salad with blackberries and walnuts… Mr McGregor would have enjoyed this feast, it could also be suitable for vegetarians.

Tea cup and sandwiches A Tale of Peter rabbit themed afternoon tea Abide from above - A Tale of Peter rabbit themed afternoon tea

After the savouries we had Peter Rabbit’s hot cross bun, this made a nice change from the usual scone that is expected with an afternoon tea. It even came with a mini trowel and mini bucket full of jam to spread on top!

The sweets included a deliciously moist and tasty carrot cake, a chocolate pot served in a plant pot topped with a strawberry, a lemon tart with an edible cabbage moulded from nougat and a chocolate eclair finished with petals.

A Tale of Peter Rabbit Themed Afternoon Tea was so wonderfully put together, so much effort to theme each and every piece of food. It wasn’t your traditional afternoon tea, it was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. So much fun to eat!

Close up of carrot cake, hot cross buns A Tale of Peter rabbit themed afternoon tea

A Tale of Peter Rabbits Children’s Platter

Cardamon Tea Lounge do so many fabulous platters for kids! At just £6.50, the children’s platter includes a yummy milkshake, shaped sandwiches, along with lots of yummy biscuits, chocolates and even a few sweets! Eden absolutely loves the kids platters and the Peter Rabbit platter was no exception!

The Tale of Peter Rabbit Themed Afternoon Tea is running for the month of April 2018 and is £20 per head (at time of publishing). Children’s platter is £6.50. Pop over to their website or Facebook page to book or for further information.

Children’s platter - A Tale of Peter rabbit themed afternoon tea

To see a review of their Magical Wizards Themed Afternoon Tea please read here.

Thank you for reading ‘A Tale of Peter Rabbit Themed Afternoon Tea in Essex’.

Eden enjoying her children’s platter - A Tale of Peter rabbit themed afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea, Eating Out, Food, Home

A Wizard’s Themed Afternoon Tea in Essex

The Cardamon Tea Lounge

A couple of years ago we found The Cardamon Tea Lounge in Colchester, Essex. We happened to be walking by and spotted this quaint little tea room and decided to give it a try. Since then it has been one of our firm favourite tea rooms. We aren’t the only ones that like it, it won the Essex Life Food and Drink Awards 2017 for Best Coffee/Tea Shop. Now its quickly becoming a popular spot for wonderful and imaginative Themed Afternoon Tea in Essex.

My daughter fell in love with this place right away and refers to it as the ‘Alice Cafe’. As you step inside there are so many wonderful trinkets and handmade crafts, many Alice in Wonderland themed and available to buy. There are teapots and cups as lampshades hanging from the ceiling and spoons as door handles. Every time I visit I see something new. My daughters favourite part is the little cupboard under the stairs, a cosy spot for the little ones to play.

Shop front of The Cardamon Tea Lounge in Colchester. Themed Afternoon Tea in EssexSome Alice in wonderland crafts and decorations Themed Afternoon Tea in Essex.

A Wizard’s Themed Afternoon Tea in Essex

The Cardamon Tea Lounge create wonderful and imaginative food and children’s platters, each with your chosen theme. Everything is made on the premises with such attention to detail. I particularly love their Alice in wonderland creations. It’s so much fun having your salad served in a giant teacup!

More recently The Cardamon Tea Lounge have been creating other themed afternoon teas. Introducing for any true Harry Potter fan ‘a Wizard’s Themed Afternoon Tea’. Both Eden and I are huge Harry Potter fans so as soon as I saw this, I couldn’t wait to try it. Any Witch or Wizard would be delighted with this magical wizard’s themed afternoon tea in Essex.

The Food

Before our visit we picked 4 sandwich choices from the menu. There were some really interesting and tempting flavours available. We chose ham, brie and apple, it was simply delicious, we also went for egg mayo, cream cheese and cucumber and salmon. We opted for mixed bread and when our sandwiches arrived one side was white and the other brown! What a great idea! The sandwiches were freshly made and simply delicious. They came served in a wooden chest! Our Wizard’s themed afternoon tea was filled with so many magical and exciting delights. We were treated to our very own multicoloured potions (which tasted amazing), popcorn served in a cauldron, and we even had our own mandrake cake! The scones were pumpkin spiced and the white chocolate and almond cake was light as air. Alongside the Wizards afternoon tea you can choose from over 50 variations of tea. We opted for the Dragonfruit tea and it was fruity and refreshing, it complemented the Afternoon Tea perfectly.

Wizards themed afternoon tea in EssexSandwiches in chest Harry Potter afternoon teaWizards themed afternoon tea, potions and mandrake chocolate cakeAfternoon tea cakes Harry Potter Wizard themed Tea cup in front of the Wizards Themed Afternoon Tea

Children’s Afternoon Tea Platter

The Cardamon Tea Lounge offers lots of wonderfully themed platters for children and the Wizard’s platter is no exception. The sandwiches were accompanied by many magical treats, a pretzel broomstick, a cauldron of popcorn, veggie sticks, a cupcake, sweets and a drink. Great value for £6.50 and Eden was so excited when it arrived, I think she enjoyed every bite!

Any witch or wizard would have a truly magical and enchanting time working their way through this Wizards feast!

 

Children’s Wizards platter Eden wearing Harry Potter glasses Wizards themed afternoon tea in Essex

Each month The Cardamon Tea Lounge will be changing their themed afternoon tea… next up ‘A Tale as Old as Time. There are so many exciting afternoon themed afternoon teas to come.  All afternoon tea’s should be prebooked, please get in touch with The Cardamon Tea Lounge, 44 St John’s Street, Colchester, Essex CO2 7AD. Telephone number: 01206 504180.

To read more about our favourite afternoon teas in Essex click here.

Wizards themed afternoon tea in Essex Harry Potter

Thank you for reading ‘A Wizard’s Afternoon Tea’.

Written in collaboration with The Cardamon Tea Lounge, we were invited along to review their afternoon tea, please note that all views and opinions are my own.

Days Out, Museums, Outdoors, Parks

February Half Term Days Out in Essex

Hanningfield reservior woods

Half term days out in Essex

So February half term is almost upon us and its another week to entertain the kids. So here are a few ideas for February half term days out in Essex.

Thames Chase Forest Centre

Tues 13th & Wed 14th February 2018 – Make your very own nest box to take home, plant wildflowers and design a poster.

Thurs 15th February 2018 – Follow a compass trail around the forest.

Drop in for as long as you like, no need to book. Why not also explore our natural play trail or collect a brilliant Highway Rat activity pack!

£3 donation per child.

For more info visit their website. Address: Broadfields,  Pike Lane, Upminster, RM14 3NS.

Hanningfield Reservoir

Hanningfield Reservoir in Downham, Billericay has the Wind in the Willows sculptures in the forest. A special map is available to purchase at the visitor centre. At each sculpture you can use the back of the map to make your very own brass rubbings of Badger, the Weasels, Ratty, Mole and Mr Toad. They are holding several activities during half term week:

Crazy Clay Creations – Tue, 13/02/2018 – 10:00am – 1:00pm. Make crafty creations to take home using clay. £3 per child. No need to book.

Brilliant Bugs Trail – Sun, 11/02/2018 – 10:00am – 4:00pm. Test your creepy crawly knowledge on our brilliant bugs nature trail. £2 per trail sheet. No need to book
For more information visit their website. Address: Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre, Hawkswood Road, Downham, CM11 1WT,

Half term days out in Essex

Langdon Visitor Centre

Langdon Visitor Centre is in Lower Dunton Road in Basildon. It is a lovely nature reserve with a trail, meadows, woodlands and lakes. As you take a wander around the trail you will meet wonderful wooden characters from Peter Rabbit.

Some of the events they are holding are:

Plant labels for Mr McGregor – Thu, 15/02/2018 – 1:00pm – 4:00pm. Follow Peter Rabbit Trail and visit the garden areas. Go inside to make some animal plant labels for you to take home. Drop in event but places may be limited at busy times. Accompanied children only.

Bug Craft – Fri, 16/02/2018 – 11:00am – 3:30pm. Get creative and design your own bugs in the indoor classroom.

For more information visit their website. Address: Langdon Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve, Third Avenue, Lower Dunton Road.Basildon SS16 6EB.

Half term days out in Essex

Belfairs Woodland Centre

Valentine’s Crafts Drop In Day – Sun, 11/02/2018 – 10:00am – 3:00pm. Drop In Craft Day for Valentine’s themes crafts for children of all ages! No need to book.

There is a small charge per craft and children must be accompanied.

For more information visit their website.

Essex Wildlife Trust are holding lots of fun events at the other centres, but many of them you need to book in advance so I would advise visiting their website first. They range from Button Crafts, building bird boxes to Space Days and Fairytale Fun.

Museum of Power

The Museum includes numerous power-related exhibits that will interest all ages, many working examples of various power sources, machinery, equipment and tools. In addition, in the former workshop, the Steam Pump Tea Rooms offer a selection of refreshments. Outside in the grounds more attractions can be found including a model village, picnic area and the miniature railway.

Rock Painting for Kids – Take your youngsters along to the Museum of Power during the February Half Term Holiday and have fun painting and finding rocks around the museum grounds. This is a popular activity with children and adults alike. Note that the museum is closed to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays but open from Weds 14th to Sunday 18th February. Normal entry fee applies. Adults: £5.00; Concessions: Senior citizens and students: £4.50; Children 5 to 15 incl £2:00; Children 4 and under: FREE.

Please visit their facebook page or website for further details.  Museum of Power, Hatfield Road, Langford, Maldon, Essex CM9 6QA. Tel: +44 (0)1621 843183.

Essex Police Museum

An absolutely fascinating place, small but packed full of interesting facts and information and has an area aimed at children.

Fingerprint Art – Sat 10th Feb, Weds 14th Feb and Sat 17th Feb. How many different pictures can you make with your fingerprints? Can you make a fingerprint story? All crafts and resources are provided along with examples and staff on hand if needed. The museum is also open for browsing 10am – 4pm. The activity is suitable for all ages with varying levels of parental support. £2 per participant. All monies raised go directly to the Essex Police Museum to help fund it.

Visit their website for further information. Essex Police Museum, Chelmsford CM2 6DN.

Essex police museum - Half term days out in EssexEssex police museum fingerprinting

RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Here’s an excuse to have some fun and get your hands dirty with a range of themed activities whatever the weather. The line-up includes a garden trail, splash puddles, vintage tractors, art & craft workshops (Mon-Fri only), storytelling (Tue only) and the Great British Mud Pie Off (Fri only).
Normal garden admission applies. For further information visit their website.

Havering Museum

Dinosaur Family Fun day. 15th Feb – Drop in with the family anytime between 11:00am and 3:00pm. Have fun exploring Britain’s dinosaur heritage through crafts, quizzes and other fun. Suitable for 4 – 10 year olds. No booking in advance required.

Admission: One adult admission of £3.00 admits up to four children FREE. Address: 19-21 High Street, Romford, Essex RM1 1JU.

Hylands House & Park

Hylands House is a personal favourite of mine since we got married here in 2010. Based in Chelmsford in Hylands Park, the Grade II listed house is set in gorgeous landscaped parkland, with pretty formal gardens to explore, cafe and a large adventure castle play area.
Free entry to the park and free onsite parking. To enter the house is £3.80 for adults and free for under 16s.

Weds14th Feb – Scrapbook Safari – Is your little one ready for the adventure of a lifetime, Scrapbook Safari is the perfect day out! After the children immerse themselves on an expedition around Hylands Estate, learning about the plants wildlife that surround them, the fun moves inside where they assemble their own scrapbook. Scrapbook Safari is aimed at primary school aged children and their parents. Booking is essential and can be made on their website.

Please check their website for opening dates and times of the house and cafe. For more information please visit their website.

Hylands houseWooden Castle olay area at Hylands House

Barleylands Farm Park

Lambing Live. All week 10am to 4pm. This February half term, join Barleylands for Lambing Live. Farmers will be on hand to answer all your questions regarding the adorable newborns plus there will be interactive talks about shepherding and much more. You’ll also be able to get up close with the newborn animals.

You can buy tickets on their website.  Barleylands, Barleylands Road, Billericay, Essex, CM11 2UD.

Hadleigh Park

Hadleigh Park are hosting Warrior Week, you need to book online in advance here.  Ages 6 years and older. Take part in a variety of activities including Archery, Slingshots, Spears and Target Games. They are also hosting a Teddy Bear Warriors for under 5’s on Tuesday 12th February.

Gruffalo Trail – Thorndon Country Park North

The Gruffalo Trail is in Thorndon Country Park North in Brentwood. It’s a great walk through the forest spotting all your favourite characters from The Gruffalo books by Julia Donaldson. There is a visitor centre where you can purchase a trail guide for 50p. There is also a gift shop, cafe and toilets with picnic area.
Free entry and parking onsite. There is a charge for parking.
They are holding several events through half term week, like Button crafts and plate decorating but you do need to book in advance.
For more information please visit their website.

The Gruffalos child sculpture in Thorndon Country Park Woods

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Books, Crafts, Family Life, Food, Home, My weekly round up

My little loves December

My Little Loves for December

So it’s mid December and things are about to get crazy! It’s time to reflect on all my favourite parts of the month so far!

Read

We were kindly send a copy of Binx the Jinx to review. A rhyming story about Binx, an incredibly cute black cat looking for friendship! At first Binx struggles to make new friends and gets bullied by the other cats because he is different. Then he meets Gin who proves that Binx isn’t a Jinx at all but in fact the luckiest cat around! The book is written and illustrated by Michelle Hird, it is beautiful, bright and colourful. Eden really enjoyed the pictures and it was enjoyable to read. We have loved reading this book and have read it several times already!

My little loves December Binx the Jinx

Binx the Jinx by michelle Hird

Watched

We have watched just about every Christmas film this month. Our favourite Christmas films have to be:

Elf, The Polar Express, The Snowman and the Snowdog, The Elf Story & Arthur Christmas.

Heard

Eden told me the sweetest thing, she told me ‘Mummy do you know you’re my best friend? You are my BFF’.

Sometimes that girl is just too cute for words!

Made

This week I finally made time to make my Christmas rag wreath! Using a wire wreath frame and lots of torn pieces of fabric (about 1 inch x 5 inch in size). You simply tie each piece on to the frame. It didn’t take very long, was very simple to make and I think you’ll agree looks very festive.

My little loves Christmas rag wreath handmade

Wore

Well this week we got lots of snow! This was Eden’s first proper snow that she can remember. The last time we had heavy snowfall was back in 2012 and Eden was just a few months old. So we wore… lots of layers! Unfortunately all of the gloves I’ve bought Eden are knitted and woolly, she doesn’t actually own a waterproof pair. I improvised, popping in one pair of gloves, a plastic bag to stop her hands getting wet and another pair of gloves on top! Sadly they slipped off her hand every time she threw a snowball so a bit of epic fail, lol!My little loves December Eden in the snowjEden making snow angels in the snowEden and I in the snowEden hugging her first ever snowman

Ate

This week, I discovered a delightful little tea room in Brentwood Essex called Merrymeade Tea Room situated in Merrymeade House. We enjoyed a scrumptious afternoon tea and because we’re in December it had featured some yummy festive treats. It was brilliant value at £11.99 a head and Eden even had a kids one all to herself. One of my favourite parts of an afternoon tea has to be the sandwiches. The bread was so soft and fresh and had a good selection of fillings. The carrot cake and mini brownie Christmas puddings really were delicious. We can’t wait to visit again soon, we definitely recommend!

Visit their Facebook page for further details here.

My little loves December Merrymeade Tea RoomAfternoon tea at Merrymeade Tea RoomsMerrymeade Tea Rooms picture from outside

And lastly

I have been busy every day coming up with new elf on the shelf ideas. I’ve been trying to use new ideas as Eden would remember if I repeated many of them from last year so the pressure has been on. Here are some of my favourites I’ve used for 2017 so far. They certainly are cheeky elves, Eden is so excited each morning to see what they have been up too!

Elf on the shelf ideas wrapped in Christmas paperElf on the shelf ideas mini gingerbread house Elf’s knitting Elves playing snowball target practiceThe elves leaving the elf story movie to watch

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