Tag: review

So this post is a little late – sorry especially to Kim who has been asking for it!

Anyway, onto the juicy stuff. These are some things that I enjoyed in April.

Products.

This peanut butter fudge sorbetto from Talenti. This ice cream blew up all over social media this month and I was dying to try it. I found it on sale at one of our local stores so I grabbed two pints. This stuff is CRAZY. It’s basically just frozen peanut butter – so good. It’s really rich so the 2 pints have lasted me the entire month.



Another ice cream I’ve been enjoying is the Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy varieties. So far I’ve tried the Chocolate Fudge Brownie and the PB Cookies n’ Cream. I normally don’t like almond milk based ice creams very much (my favourite is cashew) but these taste super good. I can remember eating the original dairy Phish food flavour so I’m hoping we get something like that one day!

The sweet creme coconut milk plant-based creamer from Coffee Mate. I’ve been adding this to my morning drink on the daily and haven’t needed any sweetener. It’s super smooth and delicious and you can’t taste the coconut. Unfortunately it splits in my coffee – which I don’t mind but it doesn’t look very nice at all.

I found this Just Cookie dough at Target and grabbed the last jar. We ended up eating it raw as dessert every night but I think it would make a really great bunch of cookies. Unfortunately Hampton Creek has come under some fire recently for their decision to include dairy in one of their new Just Cookie flavours – a white chocolate macadamia.

The Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond milk yogurt from Silk. I’m a huge fan of Silk’s soy yogurts – especially the vanilla but this new flavour in their almond milk yogurt is SO DAMN GOOD. It legit tastes like a pudding. Happily all Silk yogurts are now certified vegan.

I’ve been using these Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes for the last month or so on my face every night. They smell really good and my skin has been looking fresh and bright! These wipes are vegan and cruelty-free.



I recently ran out of the giant coconut shampoo I bought with me from the UK so I decided to try Maui Moisture Smooth & Repair + Vanilla Bean Shampoo as I’ve been having some issues with my hair being frizzy. This smells incredible and there’s no sulfates, parabens etc. It’s vegan and cruelty-free!

Blog posts & Recipes. 

Brian owns an Anova sous vide so we’ve been using it a lot to make these Sous Vide Glazed Carrots from Serious Eats. We’ve also been making packs of potatoes with vegan butter, dill and some seasoning as well as packs of parsnips. They come out perfectly cooked with a little bite and they keep for a week in the fridge. We’ve been making four or five packs at once and keeping them on hand for quick dinners.

This Strawberry coconut cream pie from Golubka Kitchen looks dreamy!!

5 Ingredient Creamy Kale Pasta Bowls from Pinch of Yum. This looks like a delicious, quick week night dinner.

 The Nut Pulp Granola from ‘The Greenhouse Cookbook’. I’m always disappointed when I make my own nut milk and end up having to throw away the pulp because I can’t think of anything to do with it. This granola looks like a really great way to use it up!

Videos, Books, Music & TV Shows.

 We recently got back into watching The 100 after a big break but are now completely caught up and now we’ve started on Star Trek Voyager.

I’ve been reading  Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston this month. The book goes over all the known adaptogens and their uses as well as other medicinal herbs. It’s an interesting read for someone curious about the use of plants as medicine.

We’ve also been cooking from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook: Entertaining for Absolutely Every Occasion by Isa Chandra Moskowitz this month! Vegan recipes for every holiday you can think of. No excuses!

One of my all time favourite Youtube channels is Mosogourmet – a Japanese cooking show. They make all kinds of crazy desserts!

That’s all I have for this month. Watch this space later for my May favourites!



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A vegan travel post coming at you with a twist today – I’m not the one travelling! My mum and Kim have been in Tallinn, Estonia for the past few days and they have given me some insight into some vegan food they ate in the city. They were lucky enough to meet someone at the airport who told them about V Vegan! They also saw vegan options in the windows of cafes and in supermarkets as well as whole foods shops. Myself, I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of listings for Tallinn on HappyCow – I feel that you could eat really well there as a vegan!



Vegan V Restoran
Rataskaevu 12, 10130 Tallinn, Estonia

They had dinner at V Vegan which is a small rusticly decorated vegan restaurant with a cosy and warm vibe. The restaurant is situated on a cobbled street in Tallinn’s medieval old town. They both remarked on how attentive and polite the service was.

The menu at Vegan V.
(Many options are also gluten or wheat free)

If I had been there I totally would have picked the Beetroot Seitan with potato mash and wild mushroom sauce – how rich and decadent does that sound!

The Beetroot ravioli with cashew cheese and a pesto sauce and garnish of crunchy nuts.

For mains they had Spicy Tofu on quinoa and sweet potato pile with tomato and coconut sauce.

Unfortunately they were so hungry they ate it before they could take photos – but I’ll let that speak for the deliciousness! They said it was a perfect combination of textures and flavours – especially the sauces.



Baked Apple with Carrot and Ginger Ice cream

Chocolate cake with berries

How good does that cake look! My mum said it was a very chocolatey cake which was not too sweet with berries in the filling. Yum!

They have a good selection of vegan cakes – something that always gets my vote!

They both agreed that the food was delicious and they had a great dining experience at Vegan V.

You can find Vegan V online on their website here and on Facebook here



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This was my last blog post coming to you from London! This past Sunday I flew to Los Angeles to join my husband and start my new life. The blog will remain the same and I’m hoping to have more time to post – these past few weeks have been a whirlwind of packing and goodbyes with very little time for blogging! Expect more Los Angeles/USA related vegan stuff in the future!

One of the special things I’ve done during my final week was to visit Claridges for afternoon tea with my mum. We’ve also been to Fortnum and Masons for my mum’s birthday last year but we both agreed this experience was vastly superior!

There are 22 teas to choose from. I chose the Himayalan First Flush and mum had the Single Estate Afternoon Tea. You’re also able to have a glass of champagne or wine but because I don’t drink we declined to have one.



The Himayalan First Flush was delicious – a very bright and clean tasting tea which needed no sugar or milk! I definitely tasted the apricot.

One thing I really liked about how Claridges serves their tea – their teapots only hold enough water for one cup at a time. This means the tea isn’t overbrewed. The wait staff are very attentive and notice very quickly when your cup is empty – we both ended up drinking five (!!) cups of tea during our tea.

The first course was the sandwiches. For the vegan option the sandwiches are:
Mushroom with pinenuts, tomato and olive spread, cucumber and olive spread, hummus and peppers and roasted butternut squash with caramelised onions. The little one on the side was an avocado mousse on a savoury scone with crispy onions on top.

My favourite sandwiches were the mushroom and the butternut squash. I was pleasantly surprised by the tomato one – I normally hate raw tomato but this was delicious! The avocado mousse had a pretty strong lemon taste so I was glad I chose to eat it last. Of course if you wanted you could ask for as many sandwiches as you wanted!

The next two courses were served together. You can see my mum’s vegetarian option on the top in the first photo and my vegan option on the bottom of the photo.



Two vegan scones, one with fruit and one plain. The jam – called Marco Polo was incredible – spiced with tea and spices. One of the wait staff said it was made in France and they had been using it for their afternoon tea for the last eight years! It was available for sale at the end of the meal for the not-so-cheap price of sixteen pounds!
There was no cream alternative for vegans so soya spread was served alongside the jam. I wasn’t too bothered about this but I know it might be an issue for vegans looking for the authentic “clotted cream” experience.

The scones were very well baked – nice and crunchy on the outside but soft and pillowy on the inside. They are quite small but we liked that! When I asked for another scone I was brought one that had clearly just been freshly baked – it was still hot from the oven!

The dessert portion of the tea consisted of a coconut tapioca pudding with mango and kiwi, a tofu chocolate mousse, a ginger spiced brownie with fresh fruit and a chocolate.

 I started with the tapioca as I wanted something lighter after the scones. It was a nice pudding but nothing crazy. After I decided to have the tofu mousse, I figured it would have some kind of fruit inside to contrast a bit with the richness of the chocolate but it was actually just solid mousse. It was very rich tasting – a great dessert for all those tofu haters out there. After working my way through the mousse I definitely couldn’t fit in the brownie and the chocolate so I ended up asking to take them home with me. Claridges boxed up my vegan things seperate from my mum’s vegetarian desserts and I’m sure many vegans would appreciate the gesture.

When paying the bill we were both given a boxed piece of fudge – which unfortunately isn’t remotely close to being vegan. It would be great if they offered a piece of decent quality dark chocolate to their vegan diners at the end of the afternoon tea.
That however, was my only criticism! Since this was a gift I wasn’t allowed to know the price but I think we can assume it was quite a lot!

You can find Claridges at Brook St, London, W1K 4HR, online, on Twitter, Instagram and on Facebook.



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Watermelon and I have never gotten on well but now I’d like to take the time to apologise to watermelon. I’m sorry that I lumped you in with all the other melons (I’m looking at you, disgusting honeydew) when you are infact delicious. Also apologies to my husband Brian who has been telling me that watermelon is the greatest ever for like the last six years and I refused to believe him. He is right about food almost all the time and I really should just listen to him!



Now that’s out of the way – I have another snack food to review. The kind folks over at Ape sent me some of their coconut curls to try. They come in two flavours, lightly salted and lightly peppered.

They have no added sugar, are gluten-free, high in fibre and they’re dried into the curls instead of being fried! They are also under 110 calories if you’re into that sort of thing.

I really enjoyed the coconut curls – especially the lightly salted ones. They’re crunchy but not too chewy and not overly salty. After I shot the photos for this post I stuffed the rest of them into my mouth. I think they would make a really great crouton on top of a savoury salad – especially the lightly peppered ones!

I decided to make a fruit salad with the coconut curls – a nice texture change between soft mango and the icy crunch of watermelon. Watermelon, salt and lime go very well together so the lightly salted coconut curls work really well here. A refreshing summer breakfast or dessert.

You can find Ape on their website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g watermelon, cut into small chunks
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 packet of Ape lightly salted coconut curls OR 20g coconut chips + 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • Juice of half a lime
  1. In a bowl combine the watermelon, mango and lime juice. Toss together until coated. Sprinkle over the coconut curls and dig in!



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My honey boo camera is back from repairs! I’m so glad to have it back! Now we can resume a hopefully more normal posting schedule. If you need your Canon fixed and you live in the UK – check out Fixation – they are great!

A couple of weeks ago I was sent some Ichai Tea to try and review. Before I got into coffee chai was my number one thing – but I only ever really drank the Twinings teabags and overly sweet soya ones from Starbucks. So when Gaia (who also sent me the Ugly drinks to try, thanks Gaia!) asked me if I wanted to try the Ichai I said FOR SURE!



The Ichai came in a big box with a handwritten note, a normal sized metal tea caddy of Spicy Chai and some smaller sample bags of blend 8, 3 and 7. Number 8 being the Classic Chai, number 7 the Vanilla Chai and number 3 the Ginger Chai. There are 8 blends of Ichai in total and you can check them out here. There was also a loose leaf tea infuser that goes into your cup – this was such a godsend because I had nothing to brew with. I’m happy to say this thing works like a charm.

The first thing I noticed when I opened up the tea was the smell! So fragrant and rich. Ichai is a loose leaf tea blend with real spices – so there are whole cardamom pods and pieces of cinnamon. It’s magic really.

I absolutely loved the Spicy Chai and my second favourite was the vanilla #7. I’ve found before that vanilla flavoured teas can be a bit fake tasting but this was amazing! A total comfort tea.



I have no qualms in saying I would happily buy more Ichai – I’m definitely getting a bigger size of the vanilla! Goodbye old dusty Twinings bags, hello legitimate luxury Ichai!

I wanted to use the Ichai in a recipe so I’ve come up with a chai almond milk recipe below. If you can’t find Ichai where you live make sure you get your hands on a high quality, highly spiced loose leaf chai – it honestly makes all the different.

You can find Ichai online on here

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked in water for approximately 8 hours or overnight
  • 4 tsp of Ichai spicy chai loose leaf tea
  • 4 cups bottled or filtered water, divided
  • 2-3 soft pitted dates
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  1. First brew the tea, add the tea to a teapot and pour over about 1 cup of boiling bottled water or add the tea to a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the tea has begun to brew, set aside to cool. After 10 minutes, discard the tea.
  3. Drain and rinse the almonds then add them to the blender.
  4. Add 3 cups of bottled water and blend on high until the almond milk is smooth. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag unless you like your milk very thick.
  5. Pour the strained milk back into the blender and add the pitted dates. Blend on high until smooth. (If your dates are very hard, soak them in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften.)
  6. Pour the cooled tea into the almond milk, add the vanilla powder. Blend on low until well incorporated. Taste for sweetness – if not sweet enough you can add another date.
  7. Pour the milk over ice in your favourite glass and enjoy! This also makes a rich and beautifully spiced porridge.



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This Sunday my mum and I took a trip down to Ozone Coffee in Old Street to grab some brunch.

Being the organised vegan that I am I did some research beforehand on their website and was happy to find that they currently have three vegan friendly dishes on their brunch menu (and three on the week day menu including 2 main dishes!)



Obviously Ozone serve impeccable tasting coffee – my previous trip here was to grab a take-away soya latte and it’s definitely one of the best coffees I’ve ever had. They use Bon Soy milk which in my opinion is THE best soy milk for coffee.
However, at the moment I’m avoiding drinking soy milk on a daily basis since it seems to have the effect of turning my skin into that of my sixteen year old self. Happily though, Ozone serve The Pressery‘s almond milk (for an extra 50p).

My mum and I both had a latte (mine with the almond milk), the coffee blend at the moment being the Empire Blend with notes of dark chocolate, sweet and orange rind. We both definitely detected the dark chocolate!

To eat I chose the Turkish style scrambled tofu menemen with smokey tomato & chilli on seeded sourdough bread and a side of herbed avocado. The other vegan options included Banana & almond milk chia pudding with nectarine & popped wild rice and Bruschetta with smoked romesco, burnt cucumber, heirloom tomatoes & seeds. Obviously there is the vegan staple of chips as well!

The scrambled tofu was very delicious – not too spicy and went very well with the herbed avocado. A successful brunch. After eating we had a look in their cake case and I was so pleased to see a vegan friendly cake! A chocolate and avocado – which we obviously had to take home with us.

I’m looking forward to seeing what vegan friendly options Ozone have planned for their autumn menu but I would come back here for the coffee alone.

You can find Ozone Coffee Roasters online, on Twitter and on Instagram.

1 Leonard Street
London EC2A 4AQ



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Last week I won a Twitter competition with Equinox Kombucha – all 4 of their booch flavours, some 9bars and 2 tickets to Taste of London in Regents Park!

I took my friend Eleeshia who blogs over at Conscious Glow! We went after I finished work on Saturday, the evening session at 5:30! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great (sooo much mud) but I was super happy to find there was lots of vegan goodies.

The restaurant options were a bit lacking – two options at Amico Bio and a possible option at Vanilla Black but I wasn’t super hungry so I wasn’t too bothered.

First we ended up at Pip & Nut! I’m a huge fan of these nut butters and I’d been searching for the crunchy maple peanut butter in vain for a little while. We had a couple of samples there! I ended up picking up two jars of the peanut butter and their plain cashew!

Thai fruit stall! They had loads of different thai fruit including rambutan, lychee, mangosteen and DURIAN! I’ve only had durian once and it was frozen with sticky rice – my husband and I shared it in California. It’s definitely an interesting fruit experience – like onions, garlic and custard. There wasn’t any samples here to try unfortunately! I did have some mangosteen and longan!

Next we headed over to Plenish to say the secret word and get our free Plenish Water! The ladies there asked us if we wanted to take a photo with their backdrop and props and we said sure! We also tried some samples of their cashew milk which was beautifully smooth!

Next we snagged some sundaes at The Coconut Collab stall! I had chocolate with strawberries and chocolate syrup! Eleeshia had mango with blueberries and granola. Delicious! Just a shame the weather didn’t quite match up.

Obviously we had to swing by the Equinox kombucha stall since they were so kind to send me the tickets! They had cocktails but I don’t drink alcohol so I just got their Wild Berry kombucha on tap! Delicious!

Juice samples at BFresh! The Strawberry Fields juice was great!

Hippeas chickpea puffs! It’s always great to check the ingredients on a packet and see “VEGAN” written on it. The Hippeas team gave us a packet each to take with us!

Everything I picked up at Taste of London! Fresh mangosteen, Plenish Water, Pip & Nut butters, Hippeas and some free basil seeds.

A pretty successful and fun evening! Thank you to Equinox Kombucha for providing the prize!

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So first things first – it’s been FOREVER.

That’s completely my fault. I’ve been completely unmotivated in the recipe department, think more eating to survive rather than thinking of elaborate things to make and photograph. On top of that my husband came to visit for 3 weeks and it was the first time we had seen each other in a WHOLE YEAR. Visas are no joke, people. (Maybe once it’s done I’ll write something about my experience.)

Then whilst I was out on a mushroom hunting foray my camera broke. Like won’t turn on, dead, broke. I think the fuse is busted inside so will be a fun trip down to the camera shop in the near future.

So that leaves me with my Iphone 6s+ to take photos with. So I’m kinda breaking two of my own personal rules with this post. 1) Use the fancy camera all the damn time 2) Make some kind of recipe incorporating whatever thing you’re reviewing.

I’m gonna start going easy on myself with rule number 2, in the past I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to come up with some amazing recipe that someone has sent me to try, but why not just try it? So from now you’ll see me do little product reviews – sometimes with recipes and sometimes not. Of course they’ll always be vegan products!

Recently the team over at Ugly Drinks asked if they could send me some of their drinks to try. Upon reading that Ugly is naturally fruit flavoured sparkling water but with no added sugar I was really intrigued and gratefully accepted.

Ugly is a bit like an adult soft drink but without that nasty sugar crash and feeling of “oh god what have I done”. I love to drink plain old water – you’ll see me carrying a goblet of it around the house and I’m never far away from my Klean Kanteen when I’m out and about but I really enjoyed the flavouring with Ugly. I think if you were a drinker they would work really well as mixers for alcohol and cocktails.

It was a surprise to me but I really loved the grapefruit & pineapple flavour. I really don’t like pineapple at all but this is amazing! Since it’s been so warm lately I’ve been happily drinking my Uglies. I’d really love to try using them to make an iced tea type drink!

If you’re looking for an alternative to soft drinks and can’t quite leave the flavours behind then Ugly drinks are definitely a good alternative.

You can find Ugly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Ugly sent me a box of drinks to try – all opinions are my own and I think their products are great! 

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About a fortnight ago the kind folks over at Frill contacted me to see if I’d like to try their range of frozen smoothies. Obviously I said yes because 1) smoothies 2) it’s frozen so ICE CREAM 3) it’s vegan! 4) the packaging has a hella cute bear on it.
Frill were really great in getting the products to me (considering they are frozen!) in a little bag complete with Frill sticker. I looked seriously cool on the tube home that night.

At the moment Frill comes in three flavours: Intense chocolate, Bursting Berries and Refreshing Green. Crunchy Nuts and Fresh Strawberry are coming soon!
As well as being completely vegan and gluten-free,Frill has the added bonuses of having 10 x the fibre of regular ice cream and half of the sugar. All the sweetness in Frill comes from the sugars in fruit – so there’s no added sugar!

You can eat Frill straight from the freezer or leave it in the fridge to soften it up. It also tastes great blended with juice or nut milk to make a smoothie!

I’ve really enjoyed trying Frill. I kicked off with the Intense Chocolate which was definitely intense! I’m a huge dark chocolate fan and this had a really distinct and rich chocolate taste. My mum loved it too and said you couldn’t tell it wasn’t dairy ice cream. I don’t think this flavour will last long in the house.

The Bursting Berries is equally delicious albeit not as rich tasting as the chocolate! I feel like it would make a great post-extravagant dinner treat where you want something sweet but don’t want to feel bloated or sad!

Chocolate  and berries aside, Refreshing Green is probably my favourite. It’s packed with fruit and vegetables including spinach, celery, avocado, basil, dates, apple, pineapple and mango. It has a really bright, fresh taste. I’ve whipped up a quick smoothie bowl using Refreshing Green which I will post below!

One of the things I really love about Frill is the convenience. I get jealous of a lot of people who have time to make elaborate smoothies and “nice creams” and all that jazz before work. With Frill all I have to do is scrape it out of the container into a bowl and I know I’m getting a whole bunch of fruits and veggies into my diet.

Would I buy Frill again? I can say with confidence I definitely would! I just need to remember to carry that Frill freezer bag with me!

If you like what you’ve seen here, you can find Frill on sale in Waitrose and Wholefoods stores in London. You can follow Frill on their social media at:
Facebook
Twitter
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FRILL BOWL (Refreshing Green Smoothie Bowl)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Refreshing Green
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Toppings of your choice: fresh fruit, hemp seeds, nut butter, granola etc.

  1. In a blender, add the Frill and almond milk. Blend on low for 20-30 seconds until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with your favourite smoothie bowl toppings!

 

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Afternoon tea is a British institution and Fortnums does it extremely well. Imagine my delight when they did a vegan selection! They also do dairy and gluten free, gluten free and a bunch of other special diet options. It’s always great to see vegans and other special diets represented in main stream places.

I went to Fortnums with a very good friend of mine who had the classic version so you will see some of her food in the photos as well.

Dikom Golden Butterfly

I’m a bit of a tea snob and the tea menu at Fortnums is fantastically long. I went for a Single Estate Assam called Dikom Golden Butterfly. It was beautifully smooth tasting with a slight hint of caramel. I ended up drinking two teapots worth during our time in the restaurant.

Obviously, eating afternoon tea at somewhere like Fortnums is not going to be cheap (£40 for their own classic blends and £44 for a single estate tea like mine) But I’m happy to report that they will refresh any of the plates for you as many times as you like. We had extra sandwiches and scones and left feeling completely stuffed!

The Vegan afternoon tea menu

The sandwiches

 

I started with my sandwiches. The char grilled pepper with salsa verdi was easily my favourite and asked for a refresh! I’m not a huge fan of cucumber but I actually enjoyed the sandwich very much. The bread was light and fluffy and not at all dry – previously when I’ve had afternoon tea you could tell the sandwiches were not fresh due to the bread being dry.

The scones with dairy-free butter

Next the scones! Slightly warm and pillow-y soft. I’m completely aware that many people are scared of vegan baking and I was so happy to see I got scones! A lot of the time vegan baking can be dense and cake-y but these scones were super light. The dairy-free butter was great as well. I had some of the scones with Fortnums strawberry jam – which you can’t really go wrong on!

The final tier – seasonal fruits

I know many people would be unhappy with a fruit salad to top off their afternoon tea but for me it was lovely. After eating all the carbs during the rest of the tea it was great to have something light to finish on.  There was also a lot of fruit I’d never tried before like starfruit and dragon fruit. I’m not a big fan of melon usually but I really enjoyed it here and made my husband proud!

Enjoying our tea!

At the end of our tea we were offered more cake – sadly none of it was vegan but I took a slice of Victoria sandwich home for my mum. We also got to take home the jam and lemon curd.

The service throughout was impeccable, we were offered numerous refreshes on our tea and food. The only thing that bothered us was the tea room was FREEZING so we had to keep our cardigans on the whole time! I would definitely come back!

You can book afternoon tea at Fortnums online here and follow them online on Twitter @fortnums

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