Despite the fact that we just had a heatwave, we have crossed the threshold into September and that means it's Autumn. Does anyone else remember years ago we'd be getting ready for our new school term and purchasing new tights and jumpers and a 'big coat'? As the years have passed it's like the seasons are getting later and now September is fairly summery for us. Even most of winter is quite mild until we get to Jan and Feb and freeze our asses off... Oh, bring back cold September mornings with the smell of burning leaves in the air and chestnuts underfoot!
Anyway, musing aside, I absolutely LOVE Autumn - it's my favourite time of year. All the great things happen: Halloween, Bonfire Night, My Birthday (to name a few. E-mail me for details of the latter...) and of course you can mull cider and wine so you have a great excuse to drink all day, especially if you're at a market or in the park.
I've decided to start reviewing some great autumnal places to fit in with the time of year and I recently went to The Milestone Hotel, basically because in the pics on the web it looked like Sherlock Holmes' drawing room, or a place where Oscar Wilde may have sipped champagne and dreamed up 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'
You can see what I mean: rows of books, soft lighting, velvet and giant paintings - The Milestone really didn't disappoint. The only thing is that photographs of places tend to make us imagine there are blanks to be filled in with our minds so I pictured this room with its grandiose decor as much larger than it was. It was gorgeous but it's really only the size of someone's lounge in their house.
That's quite nice though - it's not a negative. Less space = less people and noise (yes - I am an old person and I want to be able to hear my conversations...) so me and my guest (the lovely Amanda Sutton from Amanda's autopsies who I met during Taxidermy and Tea, see here for that review and her details http://afternoon-tease.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/taxidermy-and-tea.html) thoroughly enjoyed it.
The problem with reviewing tea for a magazine or similar publication is they treat you really well because they know who you are. Amanda and I were treated like royalty with a free full afternoon tea as well as champagne. The food was truly delicious with the typical finger sandwiches: smoked salmon, egg and watercress and ham and mustard to name a few. However there were a couple of very strange circular chicken mayonnaise sandwiches that had been rolled in chopped almonds that neither of us particularly liked (you can see them in the pic). Perhaps if they were Coronation Chicken circles the almonds would make sense, but with only mayo the combination was a bit strange.
The cakes were gorgeous but I think it's fairly difficult to go wrong with any kind of cake! We kept ourselves busy with mini eclairs, Black Forest cupcakes, almond financiers and coffee macaroons etc, and the room was very silent for that little episode...
Despite it being gorgeous it was also filling, so we had to ask for a doggy bag to take the rest of the cakes home. The Milestone provide you with a little carrying box plus handles so you can take them home in a dainty little case - however, I totally forgot to bring ours with me so that was a little fail right there :(
All in all it was a lovely ambient place to have a civilised afternoon tea with beautiful decor, gentle piano music drifting in from the conservatory and very helpful staff and I certainly want to go again and take tea in the conservatory itself (it has a totally different feel to the Lounge and would be lovely after a shopping trip with the girls):