Monday, 27 July 2015

VIDEO: Afternoon Tea Etiquette Tips With Miss Sue Flay

As my alter ego, "Miss Sue Flay", not only am I by now somewhat of an afternoon tea aficionado (I do love an unusual afternoon tea or a unique sweet treat!), but I also love to learn the history behind our beloved British pastime. VIDEO: Afternoon Tea Etiquette Tips With Miss Sue Flay When you find yourself enjoying afternoon tea, do you sometimes question where a certain tradition came from or even why we say or do something in a particular manner around the table? You might be booking yourself in for tea at The Ritz, but then have no idea how to eat your scone in the right way or you may visit a tearoom and realised you aren't quite sure how you pour the tea for your fellow guests. VIDEO: Afternoon Tea Etiquette Tips With Miss Sue Flay You may not care at all, but I have a feeling if you're reading this, there's a slight intrigue there and you are going to read on regardless... I'm somewhat of an etiquette rebel myself, hey, I dunk my Jammie Dodgers just as much as you do! VIDEO: Afternoon Tea Etiquette Tips With Miss Sue Flay This is all purely for fun and a little education as we go, so I hope you enjoy watching this little video as much as I enjoyed filming it with my puppy friend (Eddy) in tow! Here, I share with you my top tips on afternoon tea etiquette: [youtube height="HEIGHT" width="WIDTH"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhO3q7G-6-Q[/youtube]   I also urge you to share your own top tips below in a comment, I'd love to hear from you on your personal afternoon tea experiences. A HUGE thank you to Karen Cann Video for working with me on this fun video guide - if you want to find out more about her services, click here - she's awesome to work with and spurred me to make this video once and for all, thank you Karen!  VIDEO: Afternoon Tea Etiquette Tips With Miss Sue Flay   www.karencann.co.uk     MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush   Read my new "About Me" page here! You can also read about Miss Sue Flay's "Around The World In 80 Stays Challenge"and other Secret Stays & Reviews here. See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:hello@misssueflay.com All images © 2015 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.

Friday, 24 July 2015

VIDEO: Making Bacon Sushi

I have good old Facebook to thank for this one, a recipe of which I desired for many weeks before attempting. VIDEO: Making Bacon Sushi There was a video doing the rounds, showing you how to make a "bacon sushi" wrap with barbecue sauce and coated in crispy onions for ultimate, erm, pork heaven! A rainy weekend came along, my bearded friend had surprised me with a fridge full of meat to recreate this epic recipe and so, create we did... VIDEO: Making Bacon Sushi This was SO devilishly good, but very rich, you don't need much of it. It's the perfect sharing food if you're looking for something a little different at a summer BBQ, informal dinner party or to add to your afternoon tea menu for an unusual twist to the savoury tier. VIDEO: Making Bacon Sushi You'll find the original recipe (of which inspired us to give this a go) from Cook With Meat. We made SUCH a mess with this haha, but it was great fun to make and do together - the nachos were a nice touch, but tricky to mash up and the sizzle as the meat cooked, cooooooooor - just listen to it in the video, it'll make you hungry just watching. VIDEO: Making Bacon Sushi Although not in the original recipe, we used Lawry's seasoned salt (found in supermarkets in the US) for this recipe, delicious. Here's my video of our bacon sushi shenanigans - enjoy! [youtube height="HEIGHT" width="WIDTH"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og6nUKcfTg0[/youtube]   Have you given this recipe a go yourself? Or will you now do so?...  How did it go? What do you reckon?  VIDEO: Making Bacon Sushi MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush Read my new "About Me" page here! You can also read about Miss Sue Flay's "Around The World In 80 Stays Challenge"and other Secret Stays & Reviews here. See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:hello@misssueflay.com All images © 2015 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.  

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Review: Afternoon Tea And Backgammon At The Halkin 

I get asked by many people where my favourite afternoon tea venues are and one of my ultimate locations is actually in London. Afternoon Tea And Backgammon At The Halkin  The Halkin is a very elegant hotel, just set back from Belgravia Square and they have always been one of my most favourite locations for a peaceful and classy high tea menu in London. The restaurant here holds one Michelin Star and is home to some talented chefs, including Elena Arzak, voted Veuve Cliquot World's Best Female Chef, it's somewhere to go for some relaxation and simple fine dining. This is a hotel of understated luxury, for people who've made it in life - the rooms and suites (five suites within the hotel, one on each floor) here are something very special with a real homely feel to them. When looking out of a suite window, it felt as if I were peering out of an apartment overlooking the neighbourhood below, it's a peaceful haven from the bustling streets below. Afternoon Tea And Backgammon At The Halkin  If it's good enough for the likes of Meryl Streep when she visits our Capital, it's good enough for Miss Sue Flay. They once served the "Japanese Rituals" afternoon tea in collaboration with William Curley, a highly talented and passionate chocolatier and Pâtissière - those stunning  cakes are always in my cakey dreams. However, lately, The Halkin have taken a slightly different approach and now play host to Spanish tapas style food, even when it comes to their afternoon tea thanks to their new menus within the Halkin Bar. Afternoon Tea And Backgammon At The Halkin  Thanks to good old Twitter, we managed to connect a few weeks back following a conversation I'd started about the new trend in "Gentleman's Teas" and Chris Orlikowski, PR & Marketing Manager for the Como Hotel group made me an offer I simply couldn't  refuse... ... Chris advised me of something very exciting and new to The Halkin, inviting me to join not only himself, but their General Manager Andrew Thomson to play a game of Backgammon over a cup of tea or two. Afternoon Tea And Backgammon At The Halkin  This wasn't just any backgammon set, it has been curated as a bespoke set for The Halkin by COMO by luxury retailer William & Son in London's Mayfair. Andrew is a master at this game, having played with his family for many years whilst traveling the world, making him the perfect mentor to learn the art myself on a grey, but warm Tuesday afternoon. I was a little scared to play to start, I always find board games so confusing, having not played too many as a child myself. If we did play games as kids, my sister and I would argue to high heaven, most likely with the game getting thrown around or somebody stomping off in the opposite direction, so we never played them really as a result. Afternoon Tea And Backgammon At The Halkin  Admittedly, as we tucked into some tapas style nibbles and a pot of tea between courses (I adore that this hotel serves cold milk in chilled milk jugs, a beautiful touch) Andrew patiently coached me through the game in hand. We took our time, Andrew showing myself and Chris how to play the best moves with the rolls of my dice and to my complete surprise, I actually enjoyed a clear win - although I'm still unsure if perhaps that's slightly cheating when you're being told which moves are the best by a master player. But still, a win is a win, hurrah. Afternoon Tea And Backgammon At The Halkin  I truly adore this hotel, highly rate their food, especially if you're looking for a slightly unusual twist on a traditional afternoon tea. I sampled their take on fish & chips, but with the most colourful gel potato "crisps" I've ever seen, they were so unusual - such a work of art, I almost didn't want to demolish them... almost. It was all delicious and truly unusual for an afternoon tea (the fish & chips from the Tapas menu) - this is one for you to try.  Their latest afternoon tea menu can be found here. I believe that The Halkin will be offering a 25% discount on their afternoon tea bookings throughout National Afternoon Tea Week from 10th August 2015, so book yourself a table and get your hands on this stunning purple leather Backgammon set to while away your afternoon. Afternoon Tea And Backgammon At The Halkin  In fact, I'm off to buy my own set, I just wish I could afford to replicate this beautiful board myself - this hotel had toyed with offering a bespoke Monopoly board game to add to their bar, so if they do, I'm hoping I'll be the first to give it a whirl! Have you played Backgammon before? Did you find it easy or hard to get to grips with?  Do you play board games with your own afternoon tea? I'd love to hear from you in a comment below! Afternoon Tea And Backgammon At The Halkin  www.comohotels.com/thehalkin MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush Read my new "About Me" page here! You can also read about Miss Sue Flay's "Around The World In 80 Stays Challenge"and other Secret Stays & Reviews here. See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note - This visit was complimentary following an invitation from the team. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. The service team that work on the day or duration of my visit are not aware of my reasons for visiting, to enable a fair review. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:hello@misssueflay.com All images © 2015 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Afternoon Tea At St Ermin's Hotel & #AfternoonTeaWeek

Afternoon Tea Week 2015 is coming to the UK, get very excited. Afternoon Tea At St Ermin's Hotel & #AfternoonTeaWeek Last year, you may have seen I was lucky enough to join the team at AfternoonTea.co.uk and Nudge PR where we all met aboard the BB Bakery bus for a tour of London as we dined to celebrate the launch. This year I was invited back to join the team for a much more civilised and relaxed affair within the grand surroundings of St Ermin's Hotel in London's Westminster. Afternoon Tea At St Ermin's Hotel & #AfternoonTeaWeek For 2015, Afternoon Tea Week will run between 10th to 16th August, playing host to a series of exclusive afternoon tea events and celebrations nationwide within the our favourite British hotels, restaurants & Tearooms - there will be themed tables, talks, tea tastings and geekery a plenty. For example, certain UK hotels will be offering a generous discount with their afternoon tea menus, such as the St Ermin's Hotel (the host venue for this launch event) with their stunning "Sparkling Tea On The Terrace", complete with unlimited champagne. Afternoon Tea At St Ermin's Hotel & #AfternoonTeaWeek St Ermin's Hotel started out as St. Ermin's Mansions in 1889 (smart serviced flats within Westminster) and the red brick Queen Anne style was a fashionable choice back in that time. Nowadays, it reflects a luxurious Victorian interior and boasts London's very first "Bee Hotel" up on the rooftops above, complete with hexagonal boxed suites for a variety of bees to nest in peace. Their menu even includes the option to buy their rooftop honey whilst visiting and their afternoon tea is beautifully presented, served on a tall white layered box, not dissimilar to something you might find in IKEA - I've never see anything like it, I love it. Afternoon Tea At St Ermin's Hotel & #AfternoonTeaWeek The savouries include pork & black pudding sausage roll and finger sandwiches with fillings such as salt beef with horseradish, cucumber & cream cheese and smoked salmon with caviar for some true decadence. An assortment of warm, freshly baked scones are served with lashings of strawberry jam and clotted cream, but served with slightly unusual flavours. Not only do they have a traditional sultana scone, but also milk chocolate & strawberry or even a sea salt scone, all truly delicious and very moreish. Afternoon Tea At St Ermin's Hotel & #AfternoonTeaWeek It doesn't stop there, the sweet treats will keep you going all week with a chocolate & raspberry tea cake, lemon & rose petal drizzle cake, strawberry macaroon (almost like a fluffy marshmallow!) and a tropical fruit Yuzu posset to cleanse your pallet. The tea selection is hand picked by London-based gourmet tea company "Newby Teas" and at just £35 as the hotels' standard afternoon tea price, this is a luxury afternoon tea venue worthy of a visit, throughout Afternoon Tea Week 2015 or beyond. Afternoon Tea At St Ermin's Hotel & #AfternoonTeaWeek They can also cater for gluten free afternoon tea requirements if requested on booking. So... What do you fancy doing to celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week in August? I may even be getting involved in some plans myself, so watch tis space. Or perhaps you'd like to book me to join with an afternoon tea etiquette element to your own proceedings?... Afternoon Tea At St Ermin's Hotel & #AfternoonTeaWeek To find out more about his exciting week of high tea themed shenanigans and a full list of what's going on, visit: www.AfternoonTeaWeek.com  www.sterminshotel.co.uk/eating-drinking/afternoon-tea  Other blog posts from this event:  Suzy Pelta Bakes Afternoon Tea At St Ermin's Hotel & #AfternoonTeaWeek MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush Read my new "About Me" page here! You can also read about Miss Sue Flay's "Around The World In 80 Stays Challenge"and other Secret Stays & Reviews here. See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note - This visit was complimentary following an invitation from the team. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. The service team that work on the day or duration of my visit are not aware of my reasons for visiting, to enable a fair review. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:hello@misssueflay.com All images © 2015 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.  

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor

Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor I'm not one to get too mushy about the romantic side of life, but recently I was invited to review a new sleep experience at Hanbury Manor in Ware. "Where's Ware" I hear you cry?! Ware is a 40 minute hop from Cambridge or London into the wilds of, well, Hertfordshire. It's really not far at all, well worth making a visit for a country retreat not too far from civilisation. Hanbury Manor is a 200 acre Jacobean country estate on the very outskirts of Ware and part of the Marriott Group. It's the perfect romantic hideaway, should you fancy a chilled out break with the love in your life... or it could be the selfishly indulgent solo spa retreat you've been needing for a while. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor Setting The Scene: When I first met my bearded man friend, I told him all about my blog, the superb venues I get to sample afternoon tea within and the luxury hotels & spas I review as Miss Sue Flay. As we got to know each other better, there was a promise of hopefully being able to take him along with me for the odd pamper. And so the day had finally arrived to treat him to a luxury spa break - so exciting. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor This is the perfect location for a mushy, romantic getaway and with Hanbury currently teaming up with Duxiana Beds for the "Ultimate Sleep Experience", this was the recipe for a much needed rest for the both of us. Off we skipped, hopped and jumped, frolicking hand-in-hand up through the trees up the green driveway and into a grand candlelit hallway through to the reception desk where we were greeted by a friendly young lady who addressed me as my real self - I like to stay incognito on a review trip. The Geeky Bit: Duxiana is a brand I'm very fond of, remembering back to the days of the Duxiana showroom on Jesus Lane in Cambridge, I used to pass it on the bus whilst studying at my local Sixth Form college, lusting over a snooze in one of their showroom beds in the window - this weekend retreat saw that mini dream finally come to life. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor Hanbury Manor and Duxiana have also teamed with Lumie Lights and Rajeunir, combining an advanced, luxurious bed with the Lumie Bodyclock Iris to relax & invigorate your senses and a Rajeunir moisture serum to keep your skin healthy and radiant. They believe that sleep should be "engineered" and for everyone that can combine these luxury elements, why shouldn't it be? I'm a firm believer in getting a good sleep, of which I genuinely don't get very often due to a back injury that keeps me from comfort more than I'd like. The Duxiana beds are designed to support your body for optimum pain relief and recovery, of which I didn't realise to start with, it's pure fluke that I was about to put this bed to the back pain test. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor The Lumie light is a type of alarm clock, but instead of an annoying, shrill beeping, you can programme it to send you to sleep or wake you with a mist of aromatherapy oils or mists to relax or awaken your senses. Rajeunir provide you with a container of luxurious moisturiser to use on your face and neck before a good sleep, we ended up calling this our "Eternal Youth Serum" and we are still doing so almost a week later - it's making us feel younger, even if we don't look it. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor The Dux 818 Bed: Duxiana have carried out extensive research to develop a selection of handcrafted beds, all tailored to meet specific needs. Their showroom in London encourages you to try them, but as a brand, they're now working with hotels such as Hanbury Manor to allow you a full night to road test them. The Dux 818 is their most advanced bed and the one I got to try out here, with nearly four times as many springs as an ordinary bed. The lumbar support is individually adjustable for each side of the bed and that's as nerdy as I can get here - if you want to read more about the specifics of this bed, and I suggest you should, you can see more on their website about the intricate details. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor What I found most important is that it passed "the jump test"... Yup, I like to kick off my shoes, have a good old jump on the bed and see if I can swing from the chandeliers - the Dux 818 didn't fail to impress me with its' spring action. In all seriousness, this was literally the comfiest bed I've ever had the pleasure of sleeping in, I'm honestly not just saying that, it's true. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor In fact, not even my own bed compares, that's really saying something as I invested a lot of money in my own personal bedroom. I'm now ready for a serious upgrade, I have a feeling it would do my back pain wonders, so I best get saving my pennies... Or if Duxiana is reading this and have a tatty ol' thing laying around, they're welcome to tap me up. The Room: Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor We stayed in a Prestige Room, within the body of the main house, with access to their spa, golf course and gym facilities throughout our overnight stay. The Prestige Rooms have been recently upgraded, but what I did like about this room for a change was that there was no air conditioning unit within the room. This meant that we didn't have dried out, bloodshot eyes, of which we've suffered on our recent travels elsewhere. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor Our bathroom offered a great sized bathroom, complete with fluffy white robes and slippers of which we made use of in the spa the next morning. The loo roll origami impressed me as a total geek for this stuff and the lounge are had a comfy sofa where we camped with my pre-prepared carpet picnic of scotch eggs, crudités, prosecco and cupcakes on arrival - bliss. This hotel is full of character, complete with a vaulted chapel which was set up for a wedding whilst we were staying, it looked stunning and I couldn't resist a nosey up close before the guests descended, what a grand room. I'm not interested in golf personally, but the golf buggies (even hover board-style buggies) almost tempted me to off-road, had the keys been left in the ignition... Ahem. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor The Spa: You can pre-book beauty and relaxation treatments here, however we didn't have time during our visit to get a massage or manicure which is a real shame, but we did get to use the rest of the spa facilities briefly. We were up very early for a Saturday morning (for us anyway!) and got into the gym for some cardio work before breakfast. There are no mats or free weights here, but plenty of machines to get your heart rate pumping before a full English in the Oakes Grill. After breakfast we enjoyed a quick chill in the steam rooms (they have a separate one for men and for women), a quick sit in the unisex sauna and a few laps of the swimming pool before checking out. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor Even though our visit was simply an overnight stay, we still felt revitalised for using these facilities, so if you don't have time for treatments, you can still get quite a lot out of your visit. The Food: The buffet breakfast was the breakfast of kings, we could opt from a full cooked English breakfast buffet (the sausages were the tastiest I've eaten in a very long time), freshly baked pastries, fresh fruit with yoghurt, a selection of fresh muffins or breads to toast as well as a menu to choose an array of other breakfast options. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor What I did like about the buffet was that if you didn't want the eggs on offer (fried or scrambled) then you could have a fresh omelette made up to go with your breakfast. We enjoyed their afternoon tea before departing, of which we enjoyed with a glass of champagne to keep us going for the rest of the day. There's so much to say about this afternoon tea, it deserves it very own blog post... The Little Extras: The toiletries within our en suite bathroom were L'Occitaine which was a lovely touch, I haven't yet used this brand within a hotel stay before and I was thrilled to find one of my favourite beauty brands awaiting me. And it wasn't just the hand soap and usual hair supplies on offer, I also had access to a shower cap, sewing kit, nail file and even a miniature bottle of mouthwash - we were well catered for. Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor Dux also create luxury bed linen - the lightweight duvet and pillow selection were all contributing factors to one of the best nights' sleep in a very long time for both of us. The pillow selection was superb, with two of the biggest pillows I've ever seen. I could barely hold both of them together, they were almost as tall as me. Breakfast was served between 7am through to 11am, I loved that there's an option to have a lazy start to your day... There's absolutely nothing worse than only being able to grab breakfast until 9:30am whilst staying away. We had ours whilst in our gym gear and felt comfortable sat out on the outside veranda enjoying some sunshine, with such a lovely view! The Little Niggles: We were visiting to try out the Ultimate Sleep Experience, however on realising that our Lumie Bodyclock wasn't set to wake us up naturally the next morning, we found that the chamber for that particular essential oil was empty - *sob*. I called down to reception, but housekeeping had left for the day and we were offered a "normal" wake up call of which we politely declined for a Saturday morning. A real shame, as this is a fairly important element to the experience, so we didn't get to sample being woken up naturally within our stay. My advice would be to check this before you settle in for the night... Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor There were two little packets of biscuits on the tea tray, however one of the biscuits was crushed beyond belief, I still can't quite work out how on earth they would have crumbled so badly, it was if somebody had stood on the pack and popped it back. I could feel this was crushed, so when I opened it, powdered biscuit fell everywhere, oh dear, they certainly weren't dunkers. Final Thoughts: Just two rooms currently house these luxury Dux beds, so if you decide to book an Ultimate Sleep Experience, you will need to specify on booking, a spa stay will cost between £150 - £200 per person, depending on your fancy. Although at full capacity during our stay, with not one, but two weddings this weekend, it felt so peaceful - the perfect snoozy start to our chilled weekend.
Pillow fight anyone.....?

Review: A Romantic Spa Break With Hanbury Manor

www.marriotthanburymanor.co.uk

MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush Read my new "About Me" page here! You can also read about Miss Sue Flay's "Around The World In 80 Stays Challenge"and other Secret Stays & Reviews here. See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note - This visit was complimentary following an invitation from the team. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. The service team that work on the day or duration of my visit are not aware of my reasons for visiting, to enable a fair review. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:hello@misssueflay.com All images © 2015 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.  

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin

Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin I'm no stranger to the Hotel Du Vin in Cambridge, having recently visited this central boutique hotel just a few months ago for their French Market brunch table, which was truly delicious. This is a venue I've used many times previously, for my afternoon tea etiquette events and even my pop-up supperclub for Eat:Cambridge food festival ("Dine Like Downton") a couple of years back now. The only thing that ever let them down here was their afternoon tea menu, which seems to yo-yo from good, to bad, to good, to bad. It, in experience has never been consistent when it comes to the menu which is a true shame as the venue itself is superb. In turn, I truly want their afternoon tea to be something really quite special to match. Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin I was recently invited back by the new team here at this hotel, who on arrival were nothing but polite, professional and keen to make myself and my fellow diners within the hotel bar comfortable. It made a change for me actually, as I was seated down in the basement, where, tucked in the alcoves is a gem of a bar, with plenty of nooks and crannies to hide in for an hour or two – perfect! Before the day of arrival, I had booked myself a table for one, so I was in a little alcove with a cosy leather sofa to curl up into, but the perfectly laid table with white, starched linen made me sit up tall and ladylike instead. I wrapped my knees in their soft linen napkin and enjoyed my food as I teach my own students within my afternoon tea etiquette lessons, of course. Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin I was surrounded by vintage wine bottles, bowls full of champagne corks and antlers, making me feel as if I was somewhere a little more in the "country" rather than a few hundred yards from Cambridge Market Square. I was offered tea or coffee, of which I chose a loose leaf Darjeeling tea to drink before my food arrived. I do love their teacups within this hotel, they are very unusual and a striking design that works against the simple white afternoon tea plates. My afternoon tea tier stood proud, the waitress set it down in front of me and proceeded to go through everything I was about to sample. She reeled off the finger sandwich fillings through to the garnish, she had been well prepared and was knowledgeable on what she was serving, I was impressed, so many afternoon tea venues don't provide this service nowadays from experience. Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin The finger sandwiches consisted of cheese & pickle (lovely and strong tasting cheddar cheese), smoked salmon, cream cheese & cucumber, ham & mustard – all of them had beautiful flavours and didn't skimp on the filling, they were the perfect finger sandwiches, even garnished beautifully. What I do seem to moan of lately, a lot, is the lack of savoury options on an afternoon tea tier, but not here. They also served warm, buttery pork & herb sausage rolls with flaky pastry that crumbled as you bit into – I could smell these as my tier was served to me, they were divine. My favourite element by far.  In all honesty, I could have eaten the savoury all day long, it was all fantastic and I couldn't fault it one bit. Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin But, as well know, the scones should (and were) be served warm, so you can't mess around when it comes to trying out this next course before it's too late… But, this is where I was a little disappointed. The scones were rock hard, almost like biscuits. I could smell and feel that they were warm on serving, straight from the oven, however, when it came to breaking them apart I simply couldn't. Not even a knife could cut through these beauties, it was a little disappointing as there were lashings of strawberry jam & clotted cream to lather onto a plain or fruit scone – but none of these choices were edible. I did feed this back to the hotel and they are currently looking to adapt the recipe, so I'll be sure to pop back for a taste test when they do, I'd absolutely love to see them get this right. Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin They had also prepared some walnut bread and fruit loaf, both also having been in the oven just a little too long. I always thought when I came here for my previous events that they don't need to serve these two pieces, they never have got them quite right and I feel they should re-think offering them, perhaps replacing with something else a little lighter – but, of course that's just my opinion. It doesn't matter though, as the redeeming treats were fabulous, the freshly baked, individual Victoria sponge was perfectly light & yellow in colour, smothered in buttercream and strawberry jam in the middle. I had two of these cakes and I took one home for later, it was just too good to leave behind. Let's keep going shall we? I had a miniature fresh fruit bowl and a refreshing cream trifle which reminded me of my mums own trifle when I was a kid, happy memories as I spooned this down. Phew, a heck of a lot of food. Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin For me, the highlight of this afternoon tea were the sausage rolls, I could have eaten an entire plate of these, a great addition to an afternoon tea. I didn't finish off everything, as there was a lot of food on this tier, so I requested a doggy bag and they passed this mini test with flying colours. Never have I received my leftovers in a tin foil shaped handbag, true class all the way for Miss Sue Flay, I tell you! You can enjoy a simple cream tea (£8.50), a full afternoon tea (£18.50), champagne tea (£24.50) or hire the venue for a private celebration or meeting at the Hotel Du Vin. Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin You can walk in on the day for afternoon tea, but booking is advisable. They can also cater for many dietary needs with a little warning. The new team at Hotel Du Vin is growing within this Cambridge hotel and they will be adapting the afternoon tea over the coming months, I'll be sure to share their news and updates on the menu through social media as they do. If you are supporting local events such as the charity tea party with Addenbrookes Charitable Trust (ACT), the Cambridge Arts Fair or Cambridge Film Festival this summer through to the Autumn, then you'll be sure to see the Hotel Du Vin team getting involved throughout. Revisited: Afternoon Tea At Hotel Du Vin Have you been to the Hotel Du Vin for afternoon tea recently? What did you think to their offering? I'd love to hear from you in a comment below. MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush Read my new "About Me" page here! You can also read about Miss Sue Flay's "Around The World In 80 Stays Challenge"and other Secret Stays & Reviews here. See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note - This visit was complimentary following an invitation from the team (I actually frequent this venue as a paying guest on a regular basis, so I'm a bit of a fan girl). I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. The service team that work on the day or duration of my visit are not aware of my reasons for visiting, to enable a fair review. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email:hello@misssueflay.com All images © 2015 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.