Exploring Edinburgh | The most amazing afternoon tea

Just look at this. Pictures speak louder than words so here it is – afternoon tea at The Signet Library in  The Colonnades in Edinburgh.
*scroll to the bottom to see my thoughts*

This was one of the best afternoon teas I’ve ever had, seriously stunning. Even starting with the setting, you’re sat in a library under a very high ceiling surrounded by stacks and stacks of books. It’s really cool. The table was like a mirror and pretty much everything else was also reflective and looked really sleek. There were loads of different teas and coffees to choose from so whatever floats your boat, they have something for you! I went for earl grey and it was goooood.
We started with an amuse bouche of parsnip soup, a nice surprise and really tasty. Then it was onto the main event. I don’t want to go into too much detail so I’ll give you the highlights. The mini game pie was to die for, just a bite of delicious pastry goodness and the mini fish burger (I should stop saying mini because let’s face it everything is mini) was very tasty. The bizarre star of the savoury section was the red pepper cheesecake…yeah, that’s right. It sounds really weird but it worked, buttery base with a red pepper filling and a crispy pepper bit on top. Might be one to recreate at home! 
Scones were delicious – one criticism was that we could have done with a bit more clotted cream and jam but I’m sure we could have asked for more. I’m usually a little let down when it comes to puddings on afternoon teas because 1. in general there’s a lot of cake and 2. I’m too stuffed from the savoury section to even think about anything else. But well-thought out selection of mini pastries was amazing. Again, the highlights were the treacle tart, like a sticky bonfire toffee in pastry and the gin and apple jelly, a nice way to end off the meal. I was also a big fan of the pumpkin spiced macaroon. I’m normally not the biggest macaroon fan but this was filled with white chocolate and it was so tasty I could have had about 17 (obviously not right then and there – I was literally stuffed to burst).
There’s a general theme with my Edinburgh posts of “if you’re ever in Edinburgh you need to visit insert name of establishment here” but I really mean it with this one. Such a great experience, I wouldn’t hesitate about going back!
Where else shall I try for afternoon tea?

Browns Afternoon Tea

So many afternoon teas, I love it! If anyone has any recommendations of anywhere else I can go then please let me know! I love Browns. I think that atmosphere is really nice and the one in Nottingham especially just has nice vibes. I’d never been here for afternoon tea before and my amazing friends were kind enough to treat me to this a couple of weeks ago as part of my birthday present. I had a great time and would happily do this all the time! The cake stand was literally insane. It was a great mix of modern coolness and the traditional-ness of afternoon tea. I just want this for personal use when I move into my own house.

Let’s start how all afternoon tea’s start with the savoury and the sandwiches. They were quite strange fillings but at the same time normal. The weirdest one was cucumber and cream cheese. Although it doesn’t sound weird it just didn’t look anything like it was meant to be. The cucumber was chopped up into tiny pieces so you couldn’t really tell what it was and it made the cream cheese looked non cream cheese like. However, it tasted very nice and that’s all that matters. I don’t normally like egg mayo sandwiches because I’m not the biggest fan of overly eggy things but because this sandwich didn’t taste much like egg it was all okay. My favourite sandwich was the smoked salmon sandwich with lemon and chive creme fraiche. I just love smoked salmon so it will always be my number one afternoon tea sandwich!

Next layer was the scones (even though they were on the top that’s the order I normally eat it in). These scones are some of the best I’ve ever had, no joke. They were still warm even when we got around to eating them and there was plenty of clotted cream and jam for all of the scones. What I really liked was that you got a fruit and a plain scone which is very unusual because you normally get one or the other. Great texture, lovely flavour and I could have eaten more and more!

Finally the cakes and I was very surprised at the size of these! This afternoon tea is great value for money in that respect. The middle cake was a salted caramel profiterole. It was okay and tasted nice but salted caramel wasn’t my favourite flavour and profiterole wouldn’t be my pudding of choice, but it was still very nice. The chocolate brownie was huge! It was incredibly rich and chocolate-y and there was no way I could finish it because it was so big and rich, but the bit that I did have was lovely. The lemon cheesecake was delicious. The base was thin, buttery and crumbly and the filling was sweet but with a tang and it was lovely and creamy. The creme de la creme was the white chocolate pot. It had the texture of a posset, like a thin mousse and tasted like a dream. It was like creamy melted chocolate and I loved every spoonful! I think this one was my favourite.

Afternoon Tea at The Spiced Pear

One of my amazing birthday presents from my parents was afternoon tea at the Spiced Pear in Hepworth near Huddersfield. Walking in it felt like a modern restaurant but the cups and plates were very ‘cottage-y’ which I liked a lot. There were three types of afternoon tea, the traditional one with sandwiches, scones and cake, the champagne one which was the same as before but with a glass of champagne and the gentleman’s afternoon tea which had a selection of savoury treats instead of the sandwiches. I had the gentleman’s afternoon with a glass of champagne and it was amazing!
So, the first thing I delved into was the scotch egg with balsamic onions. The two went perfectly together and as this was my first scotch egg experience I have to say it has set the bar high for future scotch egg endeavours! The meat was tasty and the egg wasn’t overpowering, I liked it a lot. Next up was the pork pie with piccalilli. I’m a massive pork pie fan and I wasn’t disappointed! As with the scotch egg, the meat was tasty and the pastry was the perfect thickness. I’ve never tried piccalilli before and I don’t think I still know what it is but it was delicious and went really nicely with the pie. Bread and dripping was next up and yet another thing I’ve never tried. I think this is going to be one of my new guilty pleasures because it was so good! Basically it was bread with meat fat spread on it and it just tastes like delicious meat juices. It’s probably very love it or hate it. Last but not least is the cream of the crop, a yorkshire pudding with beef, gravy and horseradish. Think of the most delicious roast and then put that into one single yorkshire pudding. Yeah, it was that good. The pudding was crunchy on the top and soft on the bottom, how it should be, the beef was tender and tasty and the gravy was thick and perfect. Amazing!
Next up are scones. They’re pretty self explanatory. Soft and sweet with clotted cream and jam, what could be better. Also, let me know if you do cream first or jam first. I used to be jam but then I moved to cream because I find it easier to spread. Wow we are asking the important questions today! Moving onto the final layer of cakes. I had to take most of my cakes home with me because after the bottom layer my stomach could take no more! I started off with the strawberry mousse. Lovely and light it was very fluffy and creamy so a lovely palette cleanser before the hard core cakes! The passion fruit cheesecake was my favourite of the lot! The biscuit base was the perfect amount of buttery and crumbly and the main bit was super creamy with a delicious passion fruit jelly on top. I didn’t eat all of my carrot cake but the bit that I had of it was very nice. It was like a standard carrot cake and was very delicious. The same for the Victoria sponge. Light and fluffy and amazing. Last but not least is a chocolate explosion. I don’t know how to describe this but I’d say it was a bit of a chocolate tart with the same biscuit base as the cheesecake. The chocolate flavour was just the right intensity and the texture was a cross between a tart and a brownie, sounds weird but trust me it was delicious.
Another afternoon tea post will be coming soon as my amazing friends took me for another one the day I’m writing this post so stay tuned for that!

Round Up #6


Another great week, so let me share with you!


L’Oreal lip gloss
I’d been eyeing this up nearly everyday for about four weeks before I finally look the plunge and made the purchase. I think that I was hesitant to get it was 1. my slight lack of funds and 2. the fact that it’s a lip gloss and we’ve never really got on that well. But with L’Oreal being on 2 for £12 and my need for another L’Oreal Superliner I felt that it was a sign. It’s in the shade Miami Vice, a slight red-y pink in the tube but much pinky pink-er on the lips. What drew me to this was the neon like colour and the fact that when I swatched it, it left a stain on my hands, and I do like a good stain. For me it lasts really well on the lips considering I eat up lip products like they’re a delicious cake and I love that after a few hours it leaves a stain on your lips that doesn’t budge for the rest of the day and doesn’t need much touching up. I think that for my holiday this is going to be a great ‘slap on and go’ kind of product that I won’t need to carry around with me. I may have to try some more out from the range.

Afternoon Tea
Last weekend was my mum’s birthday party and she decided that she wanted afternoon tea for all of her family and friends. I think in the end there was just under 60 people that came and we catered for them all. Yep, we made ALL of the food. We had; onion tartlets, salmon blinis, sandwiches, scones, eclairs, mini lemon meringue pies, chocolate meringues, shortbread biscuits, mini Victoria sponges and coffee and mini walnut cakes. Phew, I think that’s it. We should have started the production earlier than we did but hey ho, Friday and Saturday were a frenzy of flour, ovens and let’s face it panic. But it was all worth it because everything was delicious and it was such a nice day! The weather really helped as well. If the rain had made an appearence, let’s just day we’d have been slightly screwed space wise!

Work Experience
Well you’ll be glad to know that you won’t be hearing about my work experience exploits anymore seeing as though I seem to mention it in every single post I’ve written since I started. I went with the intention of doing a week and here I am five weeks later and a truck load of articles under my belt. Wooo! Just call me pro journo. I’ve had such a good time and I think that it’s made me realise that this is what I want to do when I finish uni, which is great because I was getting worried for a while that I’d just come out with an alcohol addition, debt and more fancy dress than you could shake a stick at!

Betty’s!

Betty’s is one of my favourite places to eat ever so whenever I know we’re going somewhere where one will be close, I pray that we might be giving it a visit. If you don’t know what Betty’s is, it’s an old fashioned tea room in the north of England that sells things from afternoon tea to a full english breakfast. I’ve had a fair few things on the menu so this time, on our York trip, I branched out and went for the haddock, salmon and prawn gratin. It was smoked haddock, salmon and prawns in a hollandaise type sauce with a potato rosti with breadcrumbs on top. This was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. The fish was soft and tasty, especially the smoked haddock, and the sauce was to die for, so much flavour. The rosti was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle and just incredibly good. Everything was seasoned to perfection and the portion size was perfect. I can’t rave about this place and the food enough, it’s just insane. There are four destinations where Betty’s resides, York, Harrogate, Northallerton and Ilkley. Other than the Northallerton one, I’ve been to the all of them and even had a baking course. I just love it so much, can you tell?!?

Afternoon T(ea)V Spotting

As a little treat before I went back off to the wonderful world of university, my mum planned a little surprise as a nice send off. I had no idea what it was, like no idea, so when we pulled up outside I had a little bit of a mini heart attack. I think that I might be the world’s biggest ‘TV spotting’ geek because wherever I go that has been on the tele I can’t help myself but be like “Remember in series 2 of [insert programme name here] when they went to that church?!?! That’s the church!!”. I think it may be a condition.

As soon as we walked through the door I was taking in my surroundings and everything was so cute! Everywhere was filled with old fashioned furniture with little ornaments it was really relaxing. Then I saw it, the Last Tango in Halifax collage, with pictures of everyone when they filmed there…..just…too many feels….

The afternoon tea itself was beautiful. Cute crockery and tasty food you can’t really go wrong. The sandwiches were ham and mustard, beef and horseradish, cucumber and cream cheese and smoked salmon. My favourite was the smoked salmon one but the all of them were big on flavour. The scones (which were fruit) had just come out of the oven as they were still warm, mmmmm. Smothered in jam and cream you can’t really go wrong. To top off a super yummy ‘meal’ there were three desserts, a little strawberry sponge, a chocolaty truffle thing and a lemon posset. I can’t pick my favourite as they were all so delicious in their own little ways.  I’d definitely recommend going for afternoon tea here or anywhere as i think it’s a nice treat to have every once in a while!

Harrogate Trip

Monday was a fun filled day full of food, food and food! Me and my mum went to Harrogate for the day to have a relaxing bonding sesh. The main reason for going was to go for afternoon tea at Betty’s and it certainly didn’t disappoint! After arriving in Harrogate at around 11am we had a little Debenham browse before realising we were going to pass out from hunger so we went straight to Betty’s. I love that place so much, words can’t even describe, so every time I go in I’m always over whelmed.

The afternoon tea (which can be consumed at anytime of the day) comes with three wonderful layers:

  • Sandwiches- Egg mayonnaise, roasted ham and mustard, chicken and tarragon mayonnaise and smoked salmon with cream cheese.
  • Scone- Sultana or cheese scone with jam and clotted cream.
  • Cakes- Lemon macaroon, fruit tart and chocolate and praline mousse cake.
I think that my overall favourite layer was the sandwich layer, which is really surprising because I have a really sweet tooth, but they were just so yummy I was blown away! There’s something about putting small foods on a cute stand and drinking tea which takes a whole procedure to drink that makes me so happy, and it all tastes ten times better. I will definitely be having another one of these in the near future.
The rest of the trip consisted of shopping and buying more Betty’s cakes to eat later on that evening (yay for cake!). Love Harrogate!