Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Åhléns Bra Val - I want to redecorate

Swedish retailer Åhléns has just launched a great new sustainable collection for the home called "Bra Val" - good choices.

Suddenly I want to redecorate.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Quarterly Afternoon Tea Club at Ham Yard


Last weekend The Quarterly Afternoon Tea Club struck again, after a 6-month hiatus (waistlines had to shrink before we could indulge again...). The venue was Ham Yard in Soho, a recently opened hotel by the very stylishly eclectic Firmdale people. Oh, how I love to discover all the details in a Firmdale interior!

Anyhow, it was my birthday, and we settled in for a late-afternoon treat. We were very comfortably seated (a fact my beloved consort commented on several times: "I love a high-backed sofa", a good start) in the main restaurant area, surrounded by a lot of details in orange. I discovered that not only is orange a warm colour, it helpfully stimulates the appetite.

Our waitress took us through the afternoon tea menu (it's funny how they do that - it seems so formal, but it does create a lot of anticipation) which included an avocado mousse with lobster (this was very very good) and a lobster thermidor tartlet (delicious), deep-fried macaroni-cheese cubes (a bit 'bof', to be honest) and two very tasty sandwiches of the classic kind, to balance everything: Egg & Cress and Ham & Tomato. I sometimes think the skill lies in making the classic sandwiches memorable, and these were.

On to the scones, led by my friend who doesn't like anything sweet (yes, that is what she says). These were small and fluffy, plain and raisin, and to be honest I often think small scones are the best, it helps you maintain that dainty look whilst scoffing something incredibly rich. I always prefer strawberry jam, but there was another jam too, possibly blackcurrant, which was left untouched.

Then the sweets, which were really quite sophisticated. The dark chocolate & salted caramel pot was unanimously loved. I tried a chou filled with lemon-scented whipped cream, which was lovely but too large and too rich for me and slowed me down considerably. After that a feeble attempt at a strawberry macaroon (again, rather large), but I had to give up. The rest is a blur...

The service was a bit erratic unfortunately, but redeemed by our chief waitress, who was impeccable. She encouraged me to try Assam tea which I brewed in a one-cup glass pot at the table, to be replenished three times. And it was excellent. But my husband waited too long for his second round of savouries, and so did my friends when they ordered more tea. However, afternoon tea at Ham Yard is a mere £18. Where else would one get such a delicious afternoon tea at that price, including lobster? Nowhere, I should think.

To add to this, Ham Yard is a thourougly great venue, large and superbly decorated, with a great atmosphere. We rounded off the evening with a few hours in the bar, which was equally good.

Would we go again? Well, their afternoon tea menu changes every week, so we will have to, won't we?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Gold Curves with Rubies

My favourite Curves, this time in 14K Gold-fill, adorned with dainty faceted beads of hot pink ruby.

Price: £56.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Iolanthe - gold

This is the style of earrings which I seem to sell the most of - I just call them 'Curves'. This pair features 14k gold-fill curves and 'fancy-cut' briolettes of Iolite - the fact that they are cut and faceted in a spiral means that they reflect the light beautifully.

Price: £38 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Iolanthe - silver

These slender Sterling Silver curve earrings are adorned with lovely spiral-cut briolettes of Iolite. I think Iolite is particularly beautiful because the colour varies according to the angle at which you look through it...  most of the time it is a dark translucent blue, but sometimes it is almost clear. I find that effect quite intriguing...

Price: £30.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Rose Quartz Curve Earrings

Slender Curve earrings in 14K Gold-fill with faceted pear briolettes* of soft pink Rose Quartz.

Price: £34.

* a 'pear' briolette is a flat teardrop

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Quarterly Afternoon Tea Club at Hampton Court Flower Show

The Quarterly Afternoon Tea Club has been quietly munching through delicious afternoon teas throughout the past year without posting any reviews. This does not mean that excellent teas have not been experienced, we have simply fallen out of the habit of reviewing them.

However, on Saturday we had a really delicious afternoon tea at the Hampton Court Flower Show, served in the exceedingly hot but delightful surroundings of the show. Top marks to Cunard, who had concocted a compact afternoon tea for two at £24, which we enjoyed in the shade of a tre outside the Tea Palace tent. Expecting to be underwhelmed we were delighted, first with the sandwiches (so important to the overall experience) which were all very tasty, apart from one which was strangely empty... but which we swiftly converted into a cream and jam sandwich so no harm was done. Secondly with the perfect scones served with a light clotted cream and strawberry jam, followed by a selection of delicious little cakes. Served on a darling little three-tier stand and china crockery, with Twinings breakfast tea. I saw people's eyes widen as I walked past with the tray towards our little table...