Archive for the ‘Enchanting Afternoon Tea’ Category

Tea in Luss on the bonnie bank of Loch Lomond

Tea in Luss on the bonnie bank of Loch Lomond

Well, my dears, I tell my tale as I sit by their roaring fire. Outside is bright and brisk, the sky as pale as powder, its blue winters light illuminating the splendid snow capped hills.

There will not be that many times I think to myself when I visit a tea room where all the men are dressed in skirts, and the women wear the trousers! The secret to this observation though lies in its location. I am in the beautiful village of Luss, on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond and the men, well, all the men serving tea are dressed in their tartan kilts!

Iced ginger cake is recommended by one of my newly found kilted friends. It does not disappoint, and neither do the giant cinnamon and apple scones. All served in beautiful tartan crockery. The tea is leaf, needless to say, I am in kilted tea heaven.

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In the deep dark depths of ancient Welsh Woodland, you can just make out a whisper of smoke rising from rather an unprepossessing cottage. Far from pretty but surrounded by a garden with the feel of a grotto, you would be unsurprised to walk past fairies & witches as you make your way to the threshold.

Inside Ty Hyll, “The Ugly House” though, all feels welcoming & safe. The fire blazes in the open hearth, the tinkle of spoons against china, each ring casts what feels like an enchanting spell. Their blend of tea tastes quite magical (and is frustratingly secret!). Seek out this characterful place near Snowdonia and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Ugly House

Pretty Tea at the Ugly House


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Undoubtably, the scones are the main objects of desire at this delightful little tea room in Skipton, and a prize much in demand at that. We tried to look disappointed that they had run out of sultana scones, a thinly disguised rouse when apricot and ginger – our secret desire all along – was the substitute. The fairy granting wishes must have felt a bout of generosity and continued to hang around, for our afternoon tea delivered the preferred choice of orange and lemon cake. I was left believing that this happy coincidence was as it was meant to be, and all was right with the world.

Delightful Three sheep tea room in Skipton Yorkshire

Delightful Three sheep tea room in Skipton Yorkshire

The egg mayonnaise sandwiches were rich, the leaf tea flavoursome, and vintage china tea cups provided, my very clear preference my dears as you will know. Mind you, the tea rooms three sheep logo made an appearance on the coffee cups leaving my fellow tea drinkers feeling just slightly aggrieved. As fast as a table was vacated, new and eager tenants replaced them, looking as pleased as we had at having secured their position. Upstairs, The Three sheep Tea room feels intimate with an unhurried yet ordered ambience leaving you feeling like you are surrounded by a well honed engine delivering peace and tranquility and the perfect atmosphere. Quite honestly, this is what a delightful afternoon tea is all about, an escape from the bustling world even when it is the lovely Yorkshire market town of Skipton. The origin of the tea rooms name though remains a mystery……..

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too adorable - A squadron of Bettys ganache bumble bee's

Too adorable – A squadron of Bettys ganache bumble bee’s

In an attempt to elevate the intellectual tenor of Mary Kate’s quite splendid tea blog, I thought  would broach the subject of a topic raised by Albert Einstein no less – the mysterious disappearance of bees. Einstein discussed his view that we all need to be very worried about the state of our planet if & when our bee populations start to dwindle.Not to mention the shortage of honey for adding to a lovely cup of Lapsang souchong.

Environmentalists have taken up this theme with the fall in bee numbers & quite honestly I do anticipate the disappearance of another group of bees quite imminently – fear not thought readers, these gorgeous edible bees are designed to disappear from the marvellous bakery that is Betty’s. China tea cup in hand with the bunting fluttering in the breeze I will be having my ganache bumble bee in the sunshine & with luck, I’ll be hearing the gentle buzz of real bees all summer long.

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Wimbledon Tennis inspired afternoon tea treats – Dorchester Hotel London

The Wimbledon tennis championships are almost upon us. For those in need of any context, this is a time when the UK weather becomes either amazingly good, or spectacularly bad. All hopes are pinned on the possibility of a British winner – again. Perhaps fate will deem that time is now here – after all, it is time we had a bit of a change, she says in ever optimistic tones.

Cucumber sandwiches, strawberries with cream are the traditional fare of course but looking for inspiration for a tennis afternoon tea, I stumbled across a wonderful tennis ball and court cake – quite the perfect creations for such an occasion. Another favourite I feel compelled to share is the very creative collection of Wimbledon inspired cup cakes from Hummingbird Bakery. The grassy one is just amazing!

Serving up a tennis treat – Grassy lawns, tennis balls, racquets & strawberries – Wimbledon inspired cupcakes from the hummingbird Bakery

Now, you may be thinking what is the perfect drink to accompany your afternoon watching tennis?

Now I know I am biased but what could be more perfect that iced tea. I love Lahloo tea’s cold infused summer punch tea. Truth be told though my dears, it may be very likely that you will be battling with your umbrella against the horizontal rain whilst clinging to your flask of hot water, thereby ensuring there is a more traditional, and importantly hot brew available. Whatever the weather though, do enjoy your Wimbledon tennis afternoon tea.

More afternoon tea time inspiration can be found at:

5 splendid ideas’s for amazing afternoon teas

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Diamond jubilee – celebrate with afternoon tea and british bunting

My dears, I have decided what is so amazing about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Of course, there is the excitement of a rather splendid occasion to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne. At its core though is its absolute Britishness – Bunting and street parties will close roads. Quintessential Britishness is Afternoon Tea and cucumber sandwiches. Bells will be pealing across the country, beacons lit, with genuine infectious enthusiasm that is epitomised by the quite charming eccentricity of people camping out in London for a glimpse of the Queen.

The whole of Britain is being covered in bunting!

At its heart, Tea with Mary Kate is terribly proud to be British. Time is fleeting – Life is so very precious. Tea with Mary Kate will be savouring every moment as she looks to catch a glimpse of the flotilla on the river Thames. However you choose to spend your time, I do hope you do relish every second.

Queen Elizabeth II coronation 1952

More British inspiration for this splendid event can be found at:

A Royal Afternoon Tea – Ideas for how to Celebrate with the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee

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After an unexpected encounter with the death mask of Mary Queen of Scots at Falkland Palace, Tea with Mary Kate was in need of some serious sustenance. Luckily Kind Kyttocks was on hand to minister tea and coziness on a rather snowy day.  And better still, a delightful discovery was the availability of proper leaf tea – can you imagine how splendid I thought that was! A lovely large brown pot of Assam arrives, accompanied with extra hot water – quite frankly my dears, any establishment is already on a winner with me for that touch alone. The soup with home made bread was divine. Tea with Mary Kate hopes to be back very soon.

Tea time at Kind Kytocks

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I just adore the cake designs that the very talented Anne Heap is creating the founder and pastry chef for the Pink Cake Box. A few of my favourites are below – just as well Anne is US based or this would have been really too tempting to resist! They are works of art and look far too lovely to eat even!

topsy turvery garden rose cake from pink cake box

Tea Pot inspired cake for afternoon tea from pink cake box

A gorgeous topsy turvey tea pot cake from pink cake box

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Royal Jubilee afternoon tea time treat from Betty's

Regular reader’s will know that Tea with Mary Kate is a loyal admirer of Betty’s – a fusion of  Yorkshire and Swiss heritage…aaahh, many a happy hour has been spent in their wonderful tea room in Harrogate.

Well, my dears, I have to admit that the Royal Jubilee Afternoon tea time goodies look so gorgeous it exceeds even my lofty expectations – their lebkuchen & marzipan corgi’s are just perfect for an effortless but amazing royal jubilee afternoon tea time – and quite honestly, who could resist the splendid diamond jubilee bear, dressed as one of the Queen’s horse guard – an edible delight! There is even Betty’s special recipe loose leaf tea – a glorious collection inspired by the Queen’s favourite things. Tea with Mary Kate can think of no better way to  host a marvellous jubilee afternoon tea time celebration.

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Jubilee afternoon tea at the Langham London

The original grand hotel, the Langham is doing its bit to join in the Jubilee celebrations with its diamond jubilee tea.  
What is even better is that they are holding the cost of tea to when the hotel first opened it doors in 1865. Oh dear, I thought, my imagination running wild at the prospect of  either being trampled in the rush or face a quite enormous queue on Sunday 10th June. Well, I need not have had a moments apprehension as the Langham has arrived at a quite splendid solution – you need to make a request to  apply for a reservation. How terribly civilised I thought! Just the proper thing for where the tradition of afternoon tea was born.
Now, my dears, at this stage I feel I do need to mention there are some other mandatory requirements for this special tea – and it is that you must wear a hat & a “whimsical touch of pink”. Well, I thought, I will hardly require too much persuading on that front – quite far from a hardship!  Tea with Mary Kate’s only dilemma is if chosen will be what hat to wear! Wish me luck my dears – applications required before 31st May 2012 – how thrilling!

Vintage Afternoon Tea wearing a splendid hat - postcard image from Eyedeal postcards

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