Cross View Tea Rooms, Richmond

A couple of weeks ago we found ourselves in Richmond, where I was able to manage another tea place of my Yorkshire Tea Trail list (convenient, no?) It was a surprisingly busy Sunday afternoon and we were lucky the Cross View Restaurant & Tea Rooms could squeeze us in on the promise we ate quickly, as the table was booked for not long after!

It deed seem like a popular place indeed, though it was quickly apparent why – as well as a tasty and good-value menu, the place was adorable and the staff impeccably lovely, always taking time out to chat to the (mostly older) customers despite being busy – I can imagine this in itself is a large reason for many local repeat visits! I particularly liked the inclusion of the list of local suppliers on the back of the menu so you know where everything has come from!

First things first so once we settled down into out seats we ordered a nice big pot of tea to drink while perusing the menu! The menu covers small snacks and sandwiches as well as full meals. My tea-buddy had already set his heart on gammon but I knew I wanted something cakey and wasn’t sure I’d appreciate it after a big meal like that,..

..So I just ordered a cheese and ham baguette, which came with chips and salad. It was plenty big though! Not that I’m at all complaining as it was completely delicious – warm (as you can tell by the melted cheese!) and crusty and full of the juiciest ham and tastiest cheese.

The chips were grand too, just a little handful as a nice accompaniment. I’m terrible at eating the side salads though – I do actually really like salad but I’m not keep on coleslaw or any kind of salad dressing which you nearly always get all over everything. I really should remember to ask for it without the gloopy extras but I never think of it ’til it’s too late!

T’other half was very happy with his gammon, and the little taster I managed to pinch confirmed that it was indeed lovely! He reckons this is one of his favourite places that we’ve visited on the trail so far!

Obviously I needed to finish mine off with a sweet treat, and went for just a classic plain scone with jam and cream (as I remember there was some sort of deal with the tea!), but I was spoiled for choice really . . . they had at least 3 or 4 different kinds of scone alone to choose from! I suppose my ‘plain’ one was probably a fairly boring choice when I could have had one of the grand looking raspberry or cherry ones, but I still thought it was ace! I’m also pretty sure all the scones were Gluten Free too, which I know can be a bit of a deal breaker for many folk!

As well as the scones though there was an absolute wealth of choice in the cake display, definitely something to please everyone!

And we did manage to get everything ordered, cooked, eaten and paid for before the pre-booked table arrived too, so a happy ending for all!

I’d happily recommend a visit to the Cross View Tea Rooms if you are in the area (which you should make sure you are sometime, Richmond is lovely!), but if could be helpful to book in advance!

Afternoon Tea, Malmaison Leeds

It’s not often this year I’ve made time for afternoon tea at places not on the Yorkshire Tea Trail list that I’ve promised myself I’d complete…. but I don’t want to ignore some of the other wonderful tea places the region has to offer. When I saw a deal come up for tea at the Malmaison Hotel in Leeds on Livingsocial it seemed like a great opportunity to drag a couple of my fave local ladies out for cake!

So one wet and windy day a couple of weeks ago I met up with Hayley, Michelle and Jess and we headed to the hotels elegant Brasserie to eat, drink, and be merry!

There were a couple of different options available when booking the deal, and we opted for the fancier version – a glass of champagne each to accompany our afternoon tea!

It wasn’t long before the gorgeous slate cake stands carrying our goodies were brought over – and I was very excited to see the fairly hefty-sized choux buns, mmmm! But obviously, being good girls, we ate the sandwiches first!

The sandwich selection was egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, and ham. I can only speak for the latter two, as I’ve mentioned before my dislike for both salmon and egg mayonnaise (which of course you always seem to get with these things!), but the ones I had were really good.

The low lighting, while very pretty and atmospheric, did cause a slight problem when it came to sandwich identification – I’ll never forget the look on poor Hayley’s face when she realised the ham sandwich she’d taken a bite of was actually salmon – looks like I’m not the only one not keen on it!

The scones were adorable . . . which is my friendly way of saying they were tiny. They were really good though, a perfect sconey consistency and texture,.. just ‘petite’. I’d have been more bothered by this is we weren’t all stuffed by the end of the session but as it was I don’t think we quite finished everything so really can’t complain! The amount of clotted cream we were given wasn’t what I’d call generous either though…

But soon enough it was time for the cakes! Always my favourite part, and this little selection didn’t disappoint! There were two of the little brownie fingers each (more than enough to make up for mini-scones!) and they were rich, moist and delicious! I’m not quite sure what the little tart was, some kind of gooey nutty thing? Really good, whatever it is! But as expected when I first saw the stand, it was the chocolatey pile of cream, barely held together by soft sweet choux pastry that was my favourite. It seems almost cheating that you can pretty much make anything amazing by filling it with fresh cream but it works for me!

One of the best things about visiting the Mal for afternoon tea, besides the cream-filled cakes, is the convenient city centre location. I’ve visited a whole bunch of lovely afternoon-tea serving hotels this last six months or so but very few of them would be so easy to get to without access to a car. Definitely one to consider if you fancy a treat in the city!

Ringtons Tea and the Blogger Holiday

It will probably come as no surprise that when we planned the Blogger Holiday, one of my main concerns was making sure we had a good source of tea.

Thankfully the lovely folk at Ringtons kindly sent us not only a fab stash of teabags, but some amazing biscuits to go with – after all, holiday tea isn’t really holiday tea without biscuits!

When I went to go make the first pot of the weekend, I noticed that the Ringtons packet said the contents were ‘two cup tea bags’, so I thought I’d test this claim by just using three bags in our six-cup pot. I can only say that I was hugely impressed by the result which was tasty and delicious – it certainly didn’t feel like I’d been tight with the tea!

It probably goes without saying that the biscuits went down very well, but I’ll say it anyway! We received a great little selection of Ginger Snaps, Triple Chocolate Cookies and Rhubarb Crumble Cookies, that were all delicious – and I don’t even like rhubarb! Sadly the chocolatey ones vanished all too quickly, but we managed to keep some of the ginger snaps about all the way to Sunday evening where they made a tasty addition to our home made sundaes!

The idea was to have a big afternoon tea party one afternoon but though we meant well I don’t think we were ever that organised! Despite all the baking stuff we took wit us I only managed to cobble together one semi-respectable cake (covered in strawberries and cream to disguise the burnt bits shhhhhh!) but can try again next time!

There’s a huge range of teas, coffees, biscuits and other yummy things available from Ringtons and they deliver right to your door! I think I’m going to want one goody boxes every time I go away!

Tea at Lewis and Cooper, Northallerton

After a mini-panic the other week about haw far behind I had fallen on the tea trail, I figured I needed to get my skates on so I pulled out the map to see what took my fancy! I spotted a little cluster of tea spots in Northallerton and, being unfamiliar with the town, thought I’d just head up and see which I came to first!

The first one I came across was Lewis and Cooper, and I was so excited by the prospect of the little tea room upstairs that I even managed to walk past all the delights on display in the downstairs Deli! (The same can not be said for my way out, where I couldn’t bring myself to leave without at least picking up a thing or two!)

I obviously opted for a nice pot of tea – which came with extra hot water for topping up, as well as frequent offers of a fresh pot but I had more than enough to be going on with! I figured since we got there about lunch time I should actually have some proper food instead of just diving straight on in with the cake! I was tempted by the ‘Yorkshire Rabbit’ – an absolutely dreamy concoction of local cheese and other good stuff melted on a toasted muffin. Simple pleasures are often the best and this was a taste sensation, strong and tangy and just a little bit spicy. There’s also the option of having this with bacon which I reckon would be pretty amazing! I also love the fact that I was asked if I wanted any dressing on my salad, instead of them just loading it on regardless. I love a nice fresh salad but I’m really not into dressings and sauces and creams, so it was grand to have the opportunity to eat this unencumbered with unnecessary extras!

The cake selection was amazing – but for me it had to be the Honey and Lavender cake! Huge as it was delicious, dense and moist and served with a little pot of cream on the side. This took some eating after the ‘Rabbit’, but I’m not one to be beaten by cake! Fortunately for me, my tea-companion for the day was so I also got a good taste of the White Chocolate Orange cake at Lewis and Cooper too. This again was really tasty, the sponge itself lighter than my one, but with icing so deliciously sweet that I think I might have struggled to finish the whole thing too – one slice of this to share would be pretty spot on though!

If you are ever in Northallerton I can heartily recommend popping into Lewis & Cooper, and if you can’t make it to the tea room you can always say hello on twitter or treat yourself to some yummy bits from the store!

Soap and Glory’s Girl-O-Whirl and a post-Christmas Giveaway!

A combination of a huge enthusiasm for Christmas and an entire lack of organisation means it’s not totally uncommon for me to buy too many presents. Since most of these are for the kids.. they just receive far too much and are more than happy to do so. But this year I have a present without a home so was wondering if one of you lovely lot wanted to give it one?

The gift in question is the Soap and Glory mega make up set Girl-O-Whirl and not only did these already get distributed to many on my Christmas list but I might have got myself one too…

Anyway, here’s what’s in it!

A closer look, for those interested, reveals six eyeshadows, which I have photographed and swatched very badly:

From left to right we have Minky, Dandy Plum, Black Gold, Vanilla, Wild Blue, and Smokin’ – you can’t really see much of Vanilla, it is there honest, its just the same colour as my winter skin! Minky and Dandy Plum are both quite gorgeous and are likely to become my most used shades.

There’s also six lip glosses that I’ve done an equally poor job of photographing:

Here we have, from left to right, Naked Beige, Guava Rama, Red My Lips, Missing Pink, Perfect Day and Man Trap.

Also in the pack is a Glow All Out Luminizing Face Powder (real pretty lookin’!)…

…. a Solar Powder Multi Shade Bronzer…

….. a Thick and Fast Mascara, and a Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Nudest. Oh, and little brushes for the lip and eye stuff! A very busy box!

All the swatches and smudges are from mine by the way, not the one I’m giving away so if you win you get a nice clean unsullied one, I promise!

At the minute you can pick these sets up in Boots for £20, that’s half the RRP, or by sticking your details in the Rafflecopter below and keeping your fingers crossed!