Saturday, 8 September 2012

Late Summer Sale

Summer is winding down, and I need to make room for the new pieces I am preparing for autumn...

Kyanite and Sterling Silver bracelet. Was £26 - now £22.10

Rhodium and Green Onyx earrings on Sterling Silver closed hooks. Were £16 - now £13.60

Pale Aqua Chalcedony and Sterling Silver hoop chandeliers. Were £36 - now £30.06

Two bracelets featuring a mix of teal Apatite, lime green Peridot, pale green Prehnite and sky blue Topaz with textured Sterling Silver beads. One has a large Apatite nugget and a Sterling Silver lobster clasp, the other has a large meteorite-shaped Sterling Silver bead and a Sterling Silver t-bar clasp. Were £26 each - now £22.10.                                                                                                                     The third bracelet features faceted rondelles of sky blue Topaz with a Sterling Silver t-bar clasp. Was: £22 - now £19.80

Long Sterling Silver necklace with a pendant featuring a large faceted Opaline briolette set in a cluster of Blue Topaz and Labradorite. Was £52 - now £46.80.

Sterling Silver chain bracelet with a cluster of clear faceted Swarovski crystals. Was: £24 - now £20.40

Bracelet featuring tiny glass beads in matte creamy pink and a Sterling Silver lobster clasp adorned with tiny Pink Topaz and Rose Quartz faceted briolettes. Was: £16 - now £14.40

More to come...

Monday, 3 September 2012

London Blue

Sometimes less is more. Such as with these beautiful fancy-cut briolettes of London Blue Topaz, which recently arrived from a dealer in Jaîpur. Simply suspended from Sterling Silver lever-back hooks.

Price: £37.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Afternoon Tea at The Connaught Hotel

Ah, The Connaught. One of my absolute favourites in the afternoon tea world. I had my last social gathering as an unmarried woman there and a couple of weeks ago it was the venue for my third and ultimate afternoon tea in four days.

Having just arrived by train from Bath my friend C and I met up with the charming G&A in the surprisingly warm Espelette conservatory. It was a 'hot hot day' as Enid Blyton would have called it - it truly was. Our waiters were charming, and quickly filled our table with three-tier stands full of stylishly reinvented sandwiches plus a tea pot for each of us. Sandwiches are generally among my favourites at afternoon tea, and we certainly had some very tasty ones (but I would personally have preferred more of the traditional ones instead of quirky mini-focaccias and brioches). Their finger sandwiches with a hint of pineapple were particularly good, and we were offered a second round of them without even having to look in the waiter's direction. The scones arrived, and they were exceedingly good. These were served with home-made jams from France, which we chose from a dinky little selection on the menu, and the clotted cream was generously adorned with fresh berries. Then came the pastries which were like miniature desserts and, almost overwhelmingly (we were by this stage struggling a bit in the heat), a selection of beautifully made sponge cakes.

It feels like a crime not to try everything when it is so beautifully made and presented, but there was such an abundance that we simply couldn't eat everything. This is where the Connaught service really shows; our waiter quickly transferred our leftovers to smart little pastry boxes and handed them to us as we left.

Price: £38

Tea list: A good selection of black and non-fermented teas.

Atmosphere: Stylish and very cosseted.

Afternoon Tea at The Royal Crescent Hotel

A recent weekend trip to Bath included a well-earned rest in the gardens of The Royal Crescent Hotel whilst taking afternoon tea (the second such treat for me that week). We started off on comfortable sofas inside The Dower House at the end of the garden, but as the late afternoon weather was so beautiful we moved outside, aided by an attentive waitress carrying our three-tier cakestand and teapots, to enjoy the sun.

The sandwiches were nice and traditional, with a particularly good ham and tomato version. The scones were a little bit on the compact side, but they were redeemed by a lovely miniature Bath Bun which was served in tandem with the scones. Sadly, it was far to hot for us to truly enjoy the rich selection of pastries, which lingered and lingered on our plates.

It was a beautiful afternoon, with attentive service and the amazing sight of hot-air balloons floating past above The Crescent's roof line. Quite magical.

Price: £25.

Tea list: A good selection of alternative teas, but very few black teas to choose from.

Atmosphere: Very relaxing, rather informal yet probably also quite romantic.

Afternoon Tea at the Corinthia

A couple of weeks ago I went for afternoon tea with friends three times in 4 days...

I started quite modestly, with what should really be called 'cream tea' at the Corinthia Hotel in London. My friend C and I decided to sneak away to the very stylish Corinthia lobby lounge for some of their divine scones and a cup of tea.

I know from experience that the sandwiches at Corinthia are perfectly tasty, traditional, finger sandwiches. And I have never had the occasion to take full afternoon tea here, so I don't know what their cakes are like, but their scones are truly lovely. Petite and still warm from the oven, they are just the right side of moist (I am always very disappointed if I am served a dry scone, and sadly it does happen). Served with clotted cream and two types of red jam (strawberry & raspberry) on chic silver & white china designed for the hotel, no less. And, as C remarked, 'these scones are so dainty that even though I have had three it only really counts as one'.

One day I will return and have the full works, including the beautiful cakes and patisseries - which are a Corinthia speciality.

Price: £21 for cream tea (which we virtuously shared) plus a few pounds extra for a second pot of tea

Tea list: A good selection of black and non-fermented teas.

Atmosphere: Quiet, stylish, grand. One almost expects Hercule Poirot to appear from behind one of the columns which lines the wall...