Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Tylney Hall in Hampshire

So I had a friend in town who had offered to buy me Afternoon Tea as a Christmas pressie!  Forward ten months (in my defence she has been abroad for work!) I found myself being recommended Tylney Hall in Hampshire.  Thank you NCT Mums!

So it was nearing on dark by the time we reached Wayne Manor - I mean Tylney Hall - and we were in awe of it's grandeur.

Once we had admired the ceilings and twirled around pretending to be Cinderella, we were seated in the lounge by the fireplace.  We decided to have a pot of earl grey and a pot of English Breakfast, one Afternoon Tea and one gluten-free one and then we threw caution to the wind and ordered two glasses of champagne on me!  We hadn't seen each other in a while and it's so nice to be off the phone and speaking in real-life - so definitely something to celebrate.

 I thoroughly recommend Tylney Hall for Afternoon Tea and although I didn't stay over or use the facilities, it looks like a lovely hotel too.  It was quite quiet during the Autumn midweek but there was still a nice atmosphere and the staff were very friendly.  

Thank you my lovely friend for this Christmas treat.  I think I was in need for some "me time"!  

But for now " - To the Batcave Alfred!"

Friday, 11 May 2018

Comeback Queen

I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I’d be blogging today after such a long time. Without a word to my dear readers, I wrote my last post in 2016, had a baby and disappeared into the sunset.

This wasn’t the plan but nevertheless I’ve enjoyed taking a year to fully experience  Motherhood and adjust to all the changes it’s brought me.

I never expected these changes to include my stance on my tea blog but I felt that where I was moving forward in other areas, I’d hit a mental roadblock with the subject.

I suppose it’s no surprise that under the pressure of learning how to look after a little one and with having a chronic illness as well, mindful tea breaks became less about ‘warming the pot’ and more about chucking a teabag in and watching it go cold anyway. Oh maaaan, it took me a few months to reach the point of drinking a whole cup of tea I’d made! Small violins at the ready.

Most days I feel myself torn in two directions; one of slap dash convenience, resulting from thinking for two and one wanting to be mindful and environmentally conscious, wanting wellbeing for my family. 

Then I realised that my interest in tea was always a reflection of this. I wanted to explore what tea really was as I’d only known soggy, dusty teabags. ‘How can I connect with what I’m drinking when I don’t even know what a tea leaf really looks like?’ I challenged myself.

This challenge has always been at the heart of Tea Street blog whether I’m writing about or not. As a lifestyle blog I now feel I don’t have to exclusively review tea and tea rooms to feel I have something to say. I feel excited to keep broadening my horizons, questioning what I’m consuming and exploring the environment around me.

Rome wasnt built in a day but I’m glad I’ve redefined my goals and have some exciting work ahead!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

DIY Gifts - Sleep Masks!

So last summer I (note: when I say "I", I mean with a lot of help from my Mother!) decided to make some sleep masks as handmade gifts for my friend's Hen do!  With these cold, dark days it seems like forever ago now, but I thought it would be fun to share what I made as I think they would make fun DIY Christmas gifts as well.  I picked coral and turquoise fabric from the shop, but for this time of year you could have fun picking some really festive fabrics!   

Not sure I recommend making 11 of them as it took me forever, but they'd be great for a couple of stocking fillers!

Here they are all ready to go to Spain where I was expecting they would come in handy after a few late nights! 

I'm not usually much of a crafter and haven't sewn much since my Prom dress in '98 but I got really into it!  After the hen do we moved house so the sewing stuff is still packed away, but I hope it's not long before I can make some more cool gifts, especially some tea themed ones! :-)

Monday, 14 November 2016

Afternoon Tea - Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons

I love it when a friend reports back to me about a special tea or tea experience they've encountered.  In this case, a friend went on a romantic weekend to Oxfordshire and stayed in a lovely looking hotel called 'Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons'.  

Photo from the Hotel's Website

Looking on their website, I found an 'About' page:

"Created by celebrated chef Raymond Blanc OBE, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons is renowned for offering one of Britain's finest gastronomic experiences.
Situated in the picturesque Oxfordshire village of Great Milton, it is also one of the country's most cherished manor house hotels, with 32 individually designed guest rooms and suites.
The hotel received two Michelin stars in 1984, the first year of its opening, and, remarkably, has held them ever since.
Surrounded by lawns, flower borders and orchards, the luxury hotel enjoys an idyllic, typically English setting. But beyond the eye-catching displays are vegetable and herb gardens that provide the kitchen—and the acclaimed Raymond Blanc Cookery School—with ultra-fresh, organic produce, ensuring the Michelin-star restaurant remains at the cutting edge of culinary excellence."

I saw her Afternoon Tea piccies on Facebook and asked how she found it:

"Beautiful!! The teas were lovely ! And some really unusual ones! The scones were the best I've EVER had and the jam was home made!
The sandwiches were lovely, as were the cakes! And there was LOADS!! 8 quarter sandwiches .. a large scone each and 4 cakes.. EACH! All at Top quality x 
Pricey, but would recommend for a special occasion x"

Here are some pages taken from the Afternoon Tea menu.  As you can see, they offer a wide range of highly specialized teas and offer the sort of info about them that isn't always on offer, showing us that this hotel really means business.  I can see they offer Britain's own Tregnothnan tea from Cornwall, which is lovely to see, and many tea choices by 'Mariage Freres', which is a French gourmet tea company, based in Paris, founded in 1854 by brothers Henri and Edouard Mariage.  

This looks like an amazing hotel, and as my friend suggested, perfect for a special occasion.  I may need to save up somewhat before being able to enjoy it myself, but if the Tripadvisor reviews are anything to go by, it will be money well-spent!

Friday, 28 October 2016

New Forest Cream Tea

Hi everyone!  It feels like I haven't written on this blog for an eternity, all due to the chaos of life like moving house etc. etc!  However, after a while I realised I needed to take some time out and so my Husband and I decided to stop off for a cream tea in the New Forest on the way to visiting our family there.  We decided to stop at a tea rooms we know well; The Old Station Tea Rooms in Homsley, Burley as it's on a good route for us.

Image found at:

There's lots of history to these tea rooms and they've kept a lot of this historic charm by keeping an old train station look and theme.  Their website has a good history page for more info and tells us:

"June 1st 1847 saw the opening of the station at Holmsley. It was located where the line met the A35, the main route from Christchurch to Southampton, and referred to (until 1894) as Christchurch Road."

I love being able to sit outside at Cafes and a hot cup of black tea was plenty to keep warm on this lovely Autumn day.  They do have a nice indoor tea rooms as well, but I like the relaxed atmosphere outside with dog walkers stopping by.

I  was thrilled to see that I could order a gluten-free scone and choose soya milk with my tea, due to my intolerances.  I always feel a bit picky with all these dietary requests but I also hate it when I enjoy nice food, only to feel ropey afterwards!

I actually ended up eating two scones in the end as they were quite a bit smaller than the standard non-gluten free scones.  Oh well, it's good to treat yourself!

On the way back from our visit, we stopped at Mudeford Quay to see a glimpse of the water and a lovely sunset.  We grew up in the New Forest and do miss the forest and the Solent sometimes, but luckily it's not too far away to enjoy trips like this :-)

Monday, 1 August 2016

Letters of Note

I took advantage of a relaxing Sunday yesterday as I have a busy week/month ahead.  This 'coffee table' hardback book 'Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience' has been out for about three years now, but there's tonnes of content and something I pick up every so often and take my time reading.  

"Letters of Note is a collection of over one hundred of the world's most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name - an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people.

From Virginia Woolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II's recipe for drop scones sent to President Eisenhower; from the first recorded use of the expression 'OMG' in a letter to Winston Churchill, to Gandhi's appeal for calm to Hitler; and from Iggy Pop's beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, to Leonardo da Vinci's remarkable job application letter, Letters of Note is a celebration of the power of written correspondence which captures the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives..."

Perfect read for enjoying a brew.
This moving 500 year old love letter was found buried with the Mummy of Eung Tae Lee written by the pregnant Wife he left behind. 

There's copies of the actual letters in the book, which I love because seeing someone's handwriting really brings it to life and it hits home that these letters are written by real people.  Some of them are so poignant that they say much more about life that a lot of fiction could.  As you can see, some letters aren't in English, or are very old and not particularly legible and therefore the author has typed those ones up along with a short introduction, which puts each of the letters into context.

I was rudely interrupted for playtime!

'Letters of Note' can be bought on Amazon, currently at £20.40 for a big hardback and there's also a new one out this year called 'More Letters of Note' for the same price.  You can also buy them on Kindle, which is a bit cheaper, but I don't know how well the pictures will come out.  There's also a 'Letters of Note' website.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Chateau Rouge Tea Series - Breakfast Blend No.27

Hi all!  As you may remember i'm reviewing a trio of teas by Chateau Rouge and the last of this installment is their English Breakfast Blend No.27

I apologise that this post has taken a while for me to publish, but since this is an English Breakfast tea and English people like to talk about the weather, I don't mind saying that i've been distracted with summer and the summer heat!  Actually, i'm not really allowed to say this, but it actually got a bit too hot for me, especially for hot tea!  A bit cooler this week, so here we go..

Chateau Rouge describe this tea as "a traditional English Breakfast Tea that is smooth, full-bodied and exceptionally refreshing".  I quite like the No.27 name too, very Chanel No.5 don't you think?  This is a 100% organic loose leaf black tea, from a blend of single estates in Assam, Sri Lanka and Rwanda (Rwanda as opposed to Kenya, which a lot of brands use).  They say not to infuse too long on the first go and this is because it can go a touch bitter this way.  I tried mine with milk, which makes a change for me, but it was suggested that way on the signature black tin.

I enjoyed this tea and found it a gently malty, zesty and refreshing, which is nice in summer.  Chateau Rouge may describe it as full-bodied but I didn't find overly rich like some breakfast teas and I think it was just as nice with a biscuit or cake later on as it would be at breakfast-time with marmite on toast.  Chateau Rouge received a 2015 'Great Taste Award' for this tea and I can see why. 

Lovely full leaves

The 100g tin as you see displayed is priced at £8.50 at the time of publishing this post.  There's also biodegradable tea bags for £7.50 if you prefer the convenience. 

Amazon also sell this tea for £9.50

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


Hi Everyone!  Long time no tea!

This is the second installment of my Chateau Rouge tea series and this time i've been brewing 'Butterfly Lovers Organic Green Tea'.  This is Chateau Rouge's signature house green tea blend, with leaves selected from China, Sri Lanka and Nepal and flavoured with Seville oranges and wildflowers.

The pretty yellow wildflowers were a lovely surprise when I opened the tin (I tend to dive in first and read the info later!) and straight away I felt this green tea was different to others around, as the aroma coming off the leaves was extremely pleasant.  It's obvious that this is a perfect choice for the Spring and Summer months with its grassy and citrusy notes.

I brewed this for 3-4 minutes at quite a high temperature as instructed, and found it too weak when I tried to drink it before the time was up! I really enjoyed this organic green tea; it was perfectly rounded, with hints of peach and a refreshing tangy and zesty quality.  Having the Seville orange flavour with the green tea reminded me of the pairing of bergamot with black tea to make Earl Grey.  So if you like a proper Earl Grey and similar pairings, this could be worth adding to your tea cupboard (don't be embarrassed, we all have one).   

As with most quality loose teas, this refreshing green tea will make at least two cups with the same leaves.  I found it had some similarities to black tea as there wasn't any of that bitter fishy taste you can sometimes get with green teas (especially if you over-brew) and therefore I really recommend it, even for people who usually prefer black tea.

At the point of writing this blog post, this 100% Organic Green tea is priced on Chateau Rouge's website at £9.50 for 80g of loose tea in their signature black tin and if you can't get enough of it, the large refill pack is £32.95 for a whopping 400g.  

Similarly, it's on Amazon through my affiliate link: