Saturday, 26 March 2016

Afternoon Tea at Lainston House, Winchester

On Good Friday the sun was shining and we ventured to Lainston House for Afternoon Tea.  Lainston House is a 17th Century Country House and exclusive hotel, near Winchester in Hampshire, deep in the countryside.

Quite the  entrance!  I noticed they do Weddings here and I couldn't help but think of the amazing photos you could capture.

We were seated in what would probably have been a smoking lounge in the days of old, with wooden decor, bookshelves and a cigar bar.  Afternoon tea can seem a bit girly sometimes, so I think this was quite nice, especially with men present!

There was a good selection of teas and we chose a Taiwan High Oolong tea and the leaves were massive!  Since we all had the same we shared a pot, but I have to admit it was a little heavy to pour sat down and I embarrassed myself by pouring it over the table (again as the same happened at Fortnums, oops!).

This was called a soup on the menu but it more like a sorbet/palette cleanser and very cute!

There were lovely finger sandwiches that had plenty of ingredients and tasted great, scones and delicate patisserie cakes.  I've usually seen scones on the second tier with cakes on the top as a sort of pudding but it's OK to live on the edge once in a while ;-) 

This is a gluten-free Afternoon Tea below.  The scones were tasty but weren't as tall as usual scones and we weren't offered any cream and jam to start off with.  Once I asked, the staff were very happy to bring some and we experimented by breaking them up a little differently.  Over the course of the afternoon tea we had to ask for a couple of things but I did find the waiting staff very help and friendly.

The Oolong tea was a lovely amber colour and being only semi-oxidized was very light and refreshing. 

So this is weird.  But I took a photo in the bathroom, as Lainston House has lovely decor and I was really into the wallpaper!

Then I saw Darjeeling handwash and lotion...

After our relaxing tea, we then went on for a nosy around the lovely country house and gardens.

There were originally people sat out here but it got a little chilly once the sun started to go down.

 We had a lovely time having afternoon tea at Lainston House and as usual the time flew by (get it?).  It was Good Friday as well as a family celebration so it seemed like a fitting way to kick off Easter weekend.  The food and drink was lovely and the grounds were spectacular with great views from our lounge. The Afternoon Tea is currently priced between £29.50 pp and £41.00.

I'd also like to come back to explore further and use the accommodation, especially once Spring is well under way.  

For reviews, pictures and prices, see Tripadvisor here.

For more reviews, pictures and prices, see here.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Colouring in teacups for Mindfulness

Ahhh pretty teacups!  I took these pictures from the cover of my adult colouring-in book that I received as a gift last Christmas.  Colouring-in is meant to be a great stress reliever by encouraging mindfulness - mmm not sure what people are trying to tell me?  You can get all sorts of adult colouring books but the one I have has lot of tea designs in it and that's why i've shared it with you.

Yeah so I bought some crayolas from the local shop and tried some of my own colouring, which looks pretty rubbish but in my defence, I haven't done this for a while!  Although how is this relaxing when i'm worrying about how it looks?! Ha ha!

They say that the adult colouring-in craze took off in France big-time with colouring books outselling cookery books. It's now big in the UK too so i'm sure you've heard about this and possibly have your own books?  I've just started and can see how it can help people with their stress and anxieties since focusing on something for a sustained period of time stops you running things over and over in your head.  They says there's no such thing as multi-tasking (busy parents don't slap me!) and it's more about the speed of how quickly you can change your thoughts/actions between different things.  If the brain can't consciously think of more  than one thing at a time then I think we're onto something with focusing on colouring-in.  Is it still fun if you're not a stress-head?  Well probably.
I have the 'Coloring for mindfulness - Vintage' book, so if you like the idea of colouring-in teacups (among other things like London buses) then here's how the cover looks...

I've also added the book to my shopping widget on the left of the blog, or you can click on the box below. As you can see it's £5.99 (at the time of publishing this), which I don't think's a bad price as it's a good quality book.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Food and Drink Pairings

I'm quite happy with today's lunch; a gluten-free sweet potato falafel wrap. Yum! Even though we have made our own falafels before, there isn't always time to cook from scratch so I was pleased to find these in the supermarket with no wheat flour in them.

These are Warburtons wraps spread with houmous, lettuce and coriander/cilantro, before adding the cooked falafels and topping with tahini sauce. The sauce was bought and isn't as nice as homemade tahini sauce but is still worth using.

Carrying on with my middle eastern theme, I paired my falafel wrap with Moroccan Mint Tea from Waitrose.  I will point out that this is a mint and gunpowder green tea, even though the packaging is a bit misleading. When I first drunk it, expecting 100% mint, I was a bit taken back! 

Pairing tea and food is quite a fun project and there's a lot more to experiment with than just black tea and cake (although I won't knock it!). I hope to explore these pairings further, especially with savoury food!