I remember the days fondly when I used to get lost in a book on the train to work, carefully paint my nails with colours to match my outfits, and binge watch the latest Netflix series. My Friday and Saturday nights were spent trying different restaurants or sipping cocktails in bars and Sundays were always reserved for a new adventure.
But over the last eleven months or so, my me time has somewhat diminished. Or, to put it more aptly, completely disappeared. Unfinished cold cups of coffee can be found scattered around the house; I have no idea what the latest place is on the food scene (and even if I did I wouldn’t be able to get the dish that I actually wanted anyway because my choices now revolve around the new boss); I’m yet to get through the second series of Stranger Things; and I’m lucky if I’ve rinsed all the conditioner from my hair before I have to dash out of the bubble bath that I’d so lovingly dreamed of all day.
As much as I absolutely adore my little Evie, a baby leaves very little room for time to yourself which is why, when my sister told me she was taking me to a surprise afternoon tea treat for my birthday last month, I cried. Like literally burst into tears. The exhaustion of being a mama combined with the thought of all that cake was just too much for me to handle!
To be honest I didn’t even care if the afternoon tea that had been planned was served on the prettiest of china plates or out of polystyrene cartons – I was just looking forward to being able to enjoy an afternoon without a baby attached to my hip for a change. But when I found out this was a princess themed tea at House of Fraser’s The Tea Terrace, well let’s just say that the excitement went up a notch. I’m never one to pass up tea or cake or pretending like I’m a princess so having all three combined was quite literally the icing on the sweetly rich lemon cake.
“…there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
As soon as we arrived at the Tea Terrace, cosily tucked away in a quiet corner of House of Fraser, we noticed that the room had a very Alice in Wonderland-esq feel to it, much like the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea we had been to at the Sanderson Hotel. We were greeted by a sleek black piano playing itself, a medley of pastel pink and blue chairs, colourful clocks scattered around the room and the daintiest floral place settings. So many little details were thought of from the lampshades made out of teacups and spoons to the quotes (mainly about tea) that were splashed across the walls.
And there, right in the centre of the room, were two glittering, floral laden, absolutely magical Cinderella carriages. I didn’t have my glass slippers on but one of those babies was definitely ours.
My sister and I may not look anything alike but our personalities come with equal measures of sass and Disney glee, so cue our squeals of excitement and big childish grins as we donned our crowns and proceeded to take a million and one photos.
Once we’d got all the giggling and photo taking out of the way, our attention finally turned to the real reason we were there…the food.
There were a few different types of afternoon tea to choose from, as well as standard light meals – but why anyone would choose a savoury meal over three tiers of cake and scones I have no idea. (If you’re thinking that you would then I’m sorry but we just cannot be friends.) We went for the traditional afternoon tea and our pots of tea, big mugs of hot chocolate and tiers of food came out a short while later.
Although the selection of food was fairly simple and not quite as inventive or unique as some of the afternoon teas I’ve been to before, what I liked (aside from the Cinderella carriage of course) was that you could choose which sandwich fillings you fancied as well as picking your scones from a variety of fresh flavours. The cranberry and white chocolate scone was simply divine.
The cakes were very traditional including a lemon cake, a toffee sponge and some sort of fruity cake with a buttercream layer in the centre but all were really tasty and I needed another few cups of tea (make that six in total) to wash all the cake down with.
Being right in the centre of a busy department store, this seemed like quite a simple and obvious place to grab a coffee or a quick bite to eat, but we loved how quiet it was, even at the weekend. Which meant there was no one to judge us taking all the photos of our food and also no one to judge us devouring the entire lot!
We went home two very happy princesses, full of the sweetness of cake and all tea’d out. I can’t think of a better way to have spent a bit of time just being me (as opposed to the mum/milk maid that I currently am) so by the end of the afternoon this mama was ready for lots of squishy baby cuddles.
Where’s your favourite afternoon tea? Mamas, how do you spend your baby free time? Let me know in the comments below or at: