Are you the cream first or the jam first kind of person? It’s one of the great British problems that us Brits face. In the southern counties of Devon and Cornwall its almost a political debate. Those from Devon put their cream on first, whereas their Cornish neighbours spread their jam as a base. I’m a cream first kind of guy, I see it as a bit like butter, in a cheese sandwich you wouldn’t put the cheese on first would you?
Beth and I were kindly invited by Visit Nottinghamshire and the St James Hotel in Nottingham to sample their Sparkling Afternoon Tea during the National #AfternoonTeaWeek. We were treated to a platter of sandwiches, a collection of cakes, topped with scones, cream and strawberry jam. Our waiter Ken was a credit to the hotel and served us a chilled prosecco on arrival.
Afternoon Tea stems back to the mid 1800’s and is believed to have been introduced by the Duchess of Bedford. The Duchess found that she became hungry mid-afternoon, as her evening meal was served late in the evening. The Duchess requested to be served tea, bread and butter on a tray and began to invite friends to join her.
British Tea Facts:
– 76% of the British population drink tea every day.
– 165m cups of tea are drunk every day.
– Brits spend over £650m a year on the stuff!
– Tea consumption based on percentages 68% Breakfast Tea, 28% Green Tea, 27% Earl Grey, 26% Fruit Tea.
– Glaswegians are the biggest drinkers of Herbal & Fruit Teas
– Scousers are big fans of tea, with the people of Liverpool drinking 1,460 cups on average per year.
Afternoon Tea Week was born in the early 2000s and has now become an annual event celebrated in August with this year’s event being held between the 12th – 18th August. The event is being hosted all over the UK from quaint tea rooms through to 5* Hotels.
Four places for a quirky and instagrammableafternoon tea in the UK:
Brigit’s Afternoon Tea Bus – London
Jump aboard a London icon, a vintage red, double-decker Routemaster bus and take in the sights of the city whilst sipping tea and tucking into your sandwiches. The tour lasts around one hour thirty and passes landmarks such as Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall and Marble Arch to name a few.
Voted highly recommended in the Afternoon Tea Awards, Sketch’s afternoon tea is housed in a monochromatic blush coloured gallery and it also has one of the most Instagrammed toilets in London (have you seen their egg-shaped pods?). Sketch’s tea is served in quirky cups and the menu defiantly has a twist too!
Our hosts for afternoon tea were St James Hotel in Nottingham’s city centre right next to Nottingham Castle and the statue of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood. The hotel offers a boutique style with rooms to accommodate varying budgets, including a penthouse suite. Our afternoon tea was served in their No.6 Bar & Lounge that has a curious mix of colours, patterns and styles.
Who’s that one artist that you loved when you were younger? The one that you know all of their lyrics to? Craig David is that artist for me and he broke onto the scene when I was about seven, rocking my beanie hat and over ear headphones (ok, maybe not, I wasn’t that cool!).
When I Heart Wines offered us the chance to go and see Craig at the amazingly beautiful Kew Gardens I was straight on it, despite being over 200 miles from home holidaying in North Devon. A ‘Re-Wind’ back to my childhood was not one to be missed. I was quickly online trying to find the best option to get from Devon to London. The chosen option was for Beth to drop me at Bristol Temple Meads Station and head east towards the capital, I booked my ticket a mile away from the station and sprinted across the station to board my train as the traffic was horrendous!
I’d arrange to meet my friend Ollie and swapped a ticket for half of his double bed for the night, he was one of my Groomsman so Beth was happy with it!
Have you been to Kew? It looks stunning doesn’t it? Unfortunately, we only skirted around the outside, but I’ve seen how incredible it looks from photos online and really want to go back with Beth and my camera.
Kew Gardens is a botanic garden in southwest London that houses the “largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world”. Founded in 1840 Kew attracts over 1.3m visitors per year. Did you know Kew even has its own police force, Kew Constabulary?
“London’s hottest picnic concerts”
Defined by the Metro as Londons ‘hottest’ picnic concert Kew the Music hold concerts from a varied range of acts across a week in July. Concert goers grab their picnic and blanket and pitch up in front of the main stage. This years headliners were:
I Heart Wines had sorted us a bottle of wine to start the evening off, so we collected it from their vintage VW Camper, which Ollie and I sipped from on the bean bag loungers in the early evening sun, whilst watching the support acts, bliss.
Craig David’s support acts were Alex Aiono and Dani Sylvia. Alex Aiono was an American singer/producer, famous for his re-mixes/flipped versions of popular songs and found his early fame on YouTube and has over six million followers on the channel, he did a remix of Drakes One Dance which is worth a listen. Dani Sylvia won the ‘Best Songwriter’ at the Unsigned Music Awards in 2016 with Radio 2’s Alex Lester referring to Dani as “a name you’ll be hearing a lot of”.
Alex Aiono & Dani Sylvia Most Played Tracks on Spotify:
Once Dance/Hasta El Amanecer
As You Need
End of the Road
With 15 Million albums sold worldwide and multi Grammy nominations as well as a top 10 billboard hit 7 Days, plus 4.5 million single sales and 290 million single streams in the last year alone – Craig David is the most talked about return to music in decades!
Over the six evenings only one of these was sold out and that was the somewhat of an elder statesman of the UK Garage scene that infiltrated the charts and my parent’s car stereo in the early 2000s, Craig David. Fresh from his appearance on Love Island, Craig burst on to the stage just before 9pm, as the sun began to set, dropping some of his biggest hits from his early career to get the crowd going and they certainly lapped up every beat!
Starting with ‘What If’ from Craig’s comeback album Following My Intuition, which was quickly followed by the 2017 summer hit ‘Heartline’, the lead single from the 2018 album The Time is Now. The crowd were then taken back to the early naughties, with David delivering hits such as What’s Your Flava, Rewind and Walking Away. Craig’s 2000 number one hit 7 days was turned into a Spanish serenade.
The warm evening in the capital definitely gave a festival vibe to the concert, possibly even a pool party vibe, less the pool and the swim wear (Craig has been a resident with his TS5 DJ set for the last couple of years at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel Pool). Despite going into his 20thyear in the music industry he definitely delivered and rewound us all back to 2001!