Sunday, 18 March 2018

A Round Up of My Week | Cycling, Tower Bridge and Alumni Event

Today's post is a slight departure from my usual ones, but seeing that I had a rather interesting week last week, I thought it's worth capturing it here. Furthermore, I feel like posting something chatty and laid back today and I hope to give you a little insight into my life and what I was up to recently.

If you have been following me you would know that my exercises of choice are Pilates and Barre. But on Monday, I participated in a Cycle to Nowhere Challenge for Coram, the oldest children's charity in the UK. It was held at my office and the intention is to clock in as much mileage as possible in the hope to match the actual distance between Leeds and London (390km) and London to Cannes (1500km) which my colleagues in the Real Assets Investments are participating in. Each of the Cycle to Nowhere challenge lasted for 30 minutes and as someone who doesn't cycle nor do any spin classes, I randomly aimed for 15km and completely smashed my target and ended up with 18.5km in 30 minutes. I am very pleased with the outcome, and it simply shows the importance of setting realistic targets but at the same time gives your 100% (and beyond) to smash the target you set!.

I then had two very long days at the Tower Suite of Guoman Hotel, attending the New Generation of Operational Risk Conference. At the risk of putting you to sleep, I will spare you with all the details, but wanted to mention, if you don't know already, from the Guoman Hotel is the most insane view of the Tower Bridge. It was definitely the perfect spot to capture the Tower Bridge, the Thames with The Shard in the background. There is also a two-storey Starbucks cafe around the corner so if you ever need a caffeine fix with the most majestic view of an iconic London landmark, you now know where to go. And if you haven't tried, Starbucks breakfast porridge is legit. I'm very picky about how my porridge is done and usually, I stay away from 'take-me-to-the-counter-pot' sold in cafes, but I took some risk last week and was happy with the quality and taste of the porridge.

Finally, being a US university graduate living in London, it's very rare that I get to meet someone who graduated from my University in London. That doesn't mean there isn't any, it just means that our paths haven't crossed. So when the Dean of Smeal Colleague of Business of Pennsylvania State University was in town and hosted an Alumni event, I knew I couldn't let the opportunity go to waste. It was a fairly intimate event held at the St Ermin's Hotel (by St Jame's Park station), which by the way is a gem of a discovery! While the location is easily accessible, it is still secluded from the public and retains the colonial charm features in it. The closed event was attended by 20-30 people and definitely ignited a major throwback moment. Obviously, we graduated in different years, have had different experiences and have gone through different life journeys, but our experiences at University is the one that binds us to one another and it's always good to make new friends and expand our network especially with those who had similar experience but at the same time diverse experience from you.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

My Top 5 Favourite Healthy Snacks

When it comes to wellness there are two main things that I personally believe it and I try to practise these as much as I can. This is purely my view and my approach. Other people may think differently and have other perspectives. After all, I am not a dietitian or a nutritionist.

Firstly, you are what you eat. What you put in your body is important as it affects your performance, both on a day to day basis, even more so when you are working out. Your body needs the energy to perform, and energy comes from good quality and nutritious food.

Secondly, balanced is key and everything in moderation, including portion control. It's OK to have the Kit Kat, but maybe just have one of the single portion size rather than the family size and eat everything in one go or on your own.

When I started my wellness and healthy eating journey a few years ago, I did it out of respect for my body. I believe that it deserves all the nourishment and until today, I have not cut out any food groups from my diet. I simply eat clean most of the time and I try as much as I can to cut out processed food from my diet.

Today, I thought I'd share 5 healthy snacks that I am currently obsessed with. These are my support system and have been successful in keeping me away from the office vending machine to battle the 4pm energy slum.

First up is an apple with nut butter. I tend to use Pink Lady Apples and pour some nut butter onto them. My current favourite of nut butter is the Almond Butter from Pip & Nut. If you're out and about and didn't pack one in advanced, Pret does the same thing in a pot. This is a great combination as apples are low in calories and nut butter contains good healthy fat (as long as you eat in moderation!).

The next favourite quick fix snack is a pot of Greek Yogurt drizzle with a dollop of honey with some berries and granola. If you fancy making a home-made granola, here's a recipe I've shared previously. Greek yoghurt is a good source of protein and berries are high in anti-oxidants.

If I happen to have some rye bread at home, a slice of toasts would be my go-to option. And to make it more exciting I'll make a banana nut butter toasts, which essentially, a toasted bread spread with some nut butter and topped with sliced banana. If I prefer something savoury, I would spread mashed avocado and topped it off with sliced cherry tomatoes, giving me a smashed avocado toast.

Finally, when I am out and about and have less time to prepare my healthy snacks, the Nakd bars tend to become my go-to option. They have a variety of flavours and my favourite options are Cashew Cookie, Chocolate Orange, and Cocoa Delight. All their products are made from natural ingredients with no sugar or syrup added to them. They are also wheat, dairy and gluten-free. A number of my colleagues and I are currently doing a refined sugar-free challenge until the end of March. And the Nakd product range has been a savvier as I can have something that tasted naughty and indulging but healthy!

I hope this post has given you some ideas if not inspirations that healthy snacking are simple and easy. As always, if you're thinking of starting a new diet programme, do consult and get advice from your GP or a qualified dietitian or nutritionist.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Home Update Ideas

Believe it or not, I've been living in my current apartment for more than 5 years now. It makes perfect sense why in the last few months I have started to develop a strong desire to update a few pieces that I have. While last week didn't feel like Spring at all in London, thanks to the #beastfromtheeast, isn't it funny with every new season we often feel the need to either update or spring clean our lives, be it our wardrobe or our homes.

This time last week, I was eagerly waiting for the arrival of this chest of drawers from I ordered it back in January when it was on sale and while it requires full assembly, it was totally manageable to be assembled by one person. #girlpower. I bought it as I needed some additional storage space for spare towels, bed linens etc. and while each drawer is not very deep, they do meet the functional purpose I wanted it for.

I am also thinking of replacing the Ikea coffee table which I've had for years (since my renting days) with this coffee table from West Elm. I think the clear glass top feature will give a sense of light and space in my living area and the gold accent will add a touch of luxury.

Continuing with the gold accent theme, I also have my eye on this foldable tray table from Zara Home. I think it will be the perfect addition to my living area and would function as a side table.

Finally, the biggest update that I have been thinking about is the kitchen. As I live in a modern apartment, where the kitchen, dining and lounge area are combined into one space, it is one area of the apartment that I find doesn't fully blend with how I have decorated my space. The question remains if I am willing to live in a building site while the work is being done. *decisions...decisions*

Sunday, 25 February 2018

My Favourite Morning Routine - Easing Into the World

I always consider myself not a morning person. And I am ok with that.

I love my bed too much and often struggle to get up in the morning. I always wonder how do some people go to the gym first thing because to me, waking up to be at the gym or any fitness classes for that matter is the worst motivation to leave the bed. But each to his or her own. 

Whenever I have a scheduled meeting at work before 9am, it stresses me up so much that I ended up not having a good night sleep, fearing that I would oversleep and be late for the said meeting. It goes without saying that the interrupted sleep made me groggy and tired in the morning which then leads me to continue believing that I am just not a morning person.

Having said that, over time I have noticed something. 

There were the odd days when I would naturally wake up at 6a.m. Six freaking A.M! I know, to most people, waking up at 6 a. m. is pretty normal, but to me, it's an achievement on its own, especially when I don't have the real need to be up at that time in the day. During the weekends, irrespective whether I have plans or not, I am usually up anytime between 7 am and 8 am. 

It got me thinking. I can actually be awake in the morning, be it on the weekend or weekdays. The difference is I like to ease gently into my day, instead of jumping straight out of bed and taking on the day head-on. 

These are typically the things that I do in the morning as I ease gently into the world. 

Coffee is obviously at the top of the agenda. I basically make a bee-line to my Nespresso machine for my very first cup of the day. I absolutely adore the coffee aroma and that is often the first thing that wakes my senses up. 

Once the coffee is ready and as I enjoy sipping it slowly, I check my phones for messages from my family. Living away from family with about 8 or 7 hours time different (depending on whether it's GMT or BST), often means I don't get to participate in our family WhatApps group chats, but I do try to catch up to keep myself in the loop with what's going on over the other side of the world. 

After that, I switch on my laptop to catch up with the news. BBC is my obvious choice for general,  business and political news update. I also rely on BBC weather page so I know what to wear when I leave the house later in the day. 

For more lifestyle and my other interests news e.g. fashion and beauty,  I rely on The Newsette. It is a daily newsletter and website that covers positive lifestyle, pop culture, fashion beauty, travel, career and tech news of the day. Readers can choose to simply go to their website for news updates or subscribe to their daily newsletter. By subscribing, you get the news to be accessible from your email which means the news come to you, instead of you having to go to it. Subscribing also means that you will not miss a day of news as the news gets delivered to your inbox and if you happen to have a super busy day, you can catch up later in the day as you go through your emails. 

The format of The Newsette is very simple to navigate and it has the typical 3-column newspaper style. For some reason, it reminded me a little bit of the FT, format-wise. It covers a wide genre of topics ranging from how does a ballerina prepare for a big performance, books to read now (always good to have a list of books to discover/read), playlist of the week (I am always on the lookout for new music so that my current music list is not on repeat all the time), mantra of the day (do you know anyone who doesn't love quotes?) to tips on getting a good night sleep and healthy eating. 

If you haven't heard of or discovered The Newsette, I'd highly recommend it. Click here to get the daily newsletter delivered to you. Try it out, I am sure you will love it as much as I do. 

While catching up on the latest news, I may or may not have some music in the background. If I feel like having some music in the background, as with everyone else, Spotify is my go-to when it comes to music. I love letting the songs from the Coffee Table Jazz playlist playing in the background. The tunes are not only smooth and relaxing but also, wake the senses up. 

Typically, by the time I finished my coffee and catching up on the news, I feel more ready to face the world. From there on, I would head to the shower, get ready and get cracking on with my day. 

To me, it doesn't matter as much whether you're a morning person or not. How you start your day to set you up for the rest of the day is equally important. Whether you're facing the day head-on or like me, prefer the more gentle start to the day, the key is to do what you love and enjoy most and that often leads to a very productive and fulfilling day. 

Have a great week ahead! x


Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Perfect Trio for Evening Skincare Routine

If you have been reading this blog, then you would have known that the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum and the Clinique Night Turnaround Revitalising Moisturizer are a must in my evening skincare routine. But recently, I have included another product as the final step in my evening skincare routine.

The said item is none other than the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. It is a replenishing nighttime facial oil which helps restore the appearance of skin in the morning.

The Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate is not a new addition to my beauty stash; in fact it has been sitting in my beauty cabinet for a while. You know when you purchased and tried something and then somehow it had fallen off the wagon? I can't even recall why I stopped using it.

But earlier this year, I decided to give it another go mainly because I am on a mission to try and clear out my beauty stash so I can make way for new beauty products that I would love to try. Being an Accountant, I hate to see any products go to waste. I like to get as much use as I can unless the product is not suitable or cause reactions to my skin.

The trio combination comes in right after my Clinique 3-Step Skin Care routine - cleanse, tone and moisturise. I first apply the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum onto my skin. I absolutely love how light this serum is and how quickly it gets absorbed into my skin. My skin instantly feels hydrated upon application.

I then apply the Clinique Night Turnaround Revitalising Moisturizer. I can't live without this night cream because it truly works overnight. It gives me a luminous and glowing skin when I wake up in the morning. It makes me look like I've had a good 8-hour of sleep, which is something that I don't often have the luxury of.

The Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate comes in as the final step in my evening skincare routine. I use 2-3 drops and warm the oil between the palms of my hands and pat it onto my face, starting on the cheeks, forehead and finishing off on the chin. This ensures that I have even application without moving the products that had been applied previously. The face oil also smells absolutely divine, thanks to the lavender essential oil in it. Lavender essential oil is well known to be the perfect scent to induce calmness and relaxation leading to a good night sleep. But did you know that it also helps soothe inflamed or irritated skin, making it brighter and more radiant in the morning?

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Chinese New Year | Where to Eat in London

This Friday, 16 February 2018 is Chinese New Year, an important festival in the Chinese calendar. It marks the start of a new year following the lunar cycle. This year is the Year of the Dog; there are 12 animals all together as such the full cycle completes once every 12 years.

One of the main traditions of Chinese New Year is the family reunion dinner, which is held on the eve of the New Year. It is deemed as the most important family get-together meal of the entire year. It is often held at the house of the most senior family member of the family and all children and grandchildren are expected to be present. Married females will follow the husband for a reunion dinner with his side of the family; a non-negotiable long-standing known tradition. Hence historically, Chinese families are known to favour sons over daughters as sons will carry the family surname and will be home for the annual reunion dinner. 

As Chinese New Year often comes not too far after the Christmas holiday, my friends and I do not have the privilege to return home and celebrate with our families. As a result, friends become our away-from-home family. Every year, we meet up for our Chinese New Year luncheon at a restaurant of choice. So today, I thought I'd share my most frequented restaurants in London to satisfy the Chinese/Oriental food cravings.

For Dim Sum (dumplings), my go-to restaurant is Royal China, which has locations spread out all around London e.g. Baker Street, Queensway, Canary Wharf, and Fulham, to name a few. You may think of Dim Sum like tapas, they are served in small servings and can be either steamed or fried. Just like tapas, the idea is to order many small dishes and shared amongst your friends. My must-have Dim Sum are steamed prawn dumplings, prawn Cheong fun (prawns wrapped in steam rice noodles), fried custard buns and either congee (rice porridge) or beef hor fun (fried flat noodles with beef).

For an upmarket alternative, Yauatcha is another favourite restaurant for Dim Sum. It has a slightly more bar/western vibes to it but the food remains authentically oriental. I like both their Soho and Liverpool Street outlets and their selection of cocktails and desserts are simply to die for.

If I fancy dishes and rice, I would either go to Four Season or the Gold Mine in Queensway. Four Season started off in Queensway but now have two outlets in Chinatown - a sure sign that business is prospering. For this upcoming Chinese New Year, my friends and I will be heading to Gold Mine Restaurant. In terms of dishes, typically we would order, roast duck, steamed eggs, stir-fry green vegetable, steamed fish, and a tofu dish. These dishes are served with a side of steamed rice.

Another restaurant in Queensway which is also a favourite of mine is the Mandarin Kitchen. It is very well-known for its signature lobster noodles. The classic version is cooked with ginger and spring onion sauce. The lobsters are meaty, fresh and the noodles are just perfectly cooked - springy, soft but not too overcooked.

As always, it is good to book in advance and try to make sure everyone arrives on time. Most of these restaurants have a policy of no table until everyone in the party had arrived.

My other tip would be, due to their popularity, these restaurants get very busy so more often than not, you are not encouraged to hang around after your meal and they typically ask for the table back as soon as you finish eating. What my friends and I typically do is, once we finish our meals we'd adjourn to a local cafe for coffee and cake. 

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Pilates - An Overview and Why I Love It

If you had seen this, this and this post, you would have known that I was undertaking a Pilates teaching course late last year and two weeks ago, I got my test results and I passed! I definitely stretched myself a little too much towards the end of last year to the point that I could only find time to sit for the Pilates theory test on Christmas eve (I had completed the practical application test earlier). Hence why my result was slightly delayed due to the Christmas - New Year holiday season.

With this new qualification, I decided to add another category to this blog - Wellness - to bring more topics to the mix because I often find the blogs that I enjoy reading the most are the ones that cover a variety of topics. I hope the broad genre covered on this blog will appeal to wide range of readers, as there is a little something for everyone. I also believe the word 'Wellness' is sufficiently broad to cover myriad topics including fitness, healthy eating, self-care and mindfulness as an avenue to share my thoughts on these topics as I progress through on this journey myself.

To mark the debut entry, I thought I'd start with what Pilates is. Although Pilates has hit the fitness industry by the storm, I still get asked what is it, not to mention that many still think it purely aims to strengthen the core/abs. This post is just an overview and not a detailed breakdown of all things Pilates.

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates (1883-1967) and it started off as a form of rehabilitation exercise. Joseph Pilates initially created the exercise programme to help wounded soldiers recover from the injuries they suffered from the World War I. Eventually, the method flowed through to dancers, athletes, and physical therapy patients to stay in top form to achieve optimum health.

Pilates is a mind-body exercise as the philosophy behind it is 'A sound mind in a sound body'. When you are in a Pilates class, very quickly you will come to realise that it is almost impossible to execute Pilates movements without thinking about what you are doing and which muscles you should be engaging. This is because Pilates exercises favour quality of movements over the number of repetitions. As a result, it is very common to hear the instructor says phrases such as 'you should feel..' or the work should come from...' as part of the cues. It is also about personal best based on quality, not quantity. Therefore, the emphasis is work with your own body, your centre, your alignment, and your own range of motion because our body is unique to ourselves. There is no place for FOMO or comparison with the person next to you in a Pilates class.

Pilates can be done on a mat or using specialised equipment such as the Reformer. One method is not better than the other, in fact, they complement one another. Pilates exercises done on mat relies on body weight, flexibility and builds on core strength and control. Specialised equipment builds on these strengths by adding resistance to the repertoire.

I first heard the word Pilates back in the early years of 2000 but didn't know anything about it. My Pilates practising journey started in 2012ish, on the mat, in general Pilates classes at the gym. I have now progressed to the Reformer and started doing a more dynamic version of Pilates (with weights added to the mix etc) in Pilates studios. As a person who was never into fitness and certainly wasn't into sports or exercise, the Pilates method resonates well with me, and I've stuck with it over the years, and I certainly have seen its benefits.

Firstly, a strong core and let's address the misconception of what 'core' means. Often people associate core with abs or six-packs. In Pilates, the core goes beyond the abs; it is everything that is in the centre of our body starting from the bottom of the diaphragm to the lower spine, the obliques and the pelvis. A strong core is achieved by integrating all these elements into movements when you are executing pilates exercises.

Poise and long and lean muscles is another benefit of practising Pilates. Gym workouts tend to build short and bulky muscles - which is absolutely fine if you are into those. I personally have always been a fan and admirer of the body of ballerinas and rhythmic gymnasts. This is why the Pilates method resonates with me. Pilates elongates muscles which makes you feel and look taller and leaner. It also strengthens and improves muscles elasticity, resulting in a balanced and flexible body. A flexible body could reduce injury not only when you are exercising, playing sports but also in your day to day lives. Simply think of a simple act of picking up something off the floor. When your body is flexible, you could do it with ease (even gracefully if you want to), but if you're not flexible, a tiny wrong move could lead to a muscle pull. I am sure we all have experienced that at some point and how unpleasant it feels.

Thirdly, no matter how cluttered or stressed my mind is, I always come out of a Pilates class feeling more mindful with improved mental clarity. This is because Pilates exercises connect the mind to be in tune with the body. By emphasising proper breathing and correct body alignments, Pilates exercises require concentration which 'forces' us to be in the moment, which can sometimes feel like a privilege in this day and age of 'busy-ness'.

If you haven't discovered Pilates yet, I hope this overview will spark your curiosity and interests. As always, if you're new to any form of exercise, consult your GP and physician in the first instance. For me personally, it has been a very enjoyable and self-discovering journey and I can't wait to spread more Pilates love further! ❤️

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Florence, Italy | My Favourite Spots

Seeing that we are already at the end of January 2018, I thought it is about time that these photos which I took while I was in Florence in July 2017 see the light of days.

Notwithstanding that Florence is relatively small and compact, it still has a lot to offer. There is plenty to see and they can be easily done by foot. The three main highlights for me were the Firenze Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery and the Boboli Gardens.

In my travels around Europe, I have seen so many Duomos, but the Firenzi Duomo simply trumps them all. The size, the grandeur, the intricate details and the combination pink and olive green marble walls simply took my breath away. It is, after all, the most iconic landmark of Florence and it definitely dominates the city's medieval city landscape. If you want to, you could climb up the bell tower, but be sure to plan and book your tickets in advance. I wish I had done that, as I missed the opportunity to get the City view from the top of the Bell Tower.

The Uffizi Gallery is another favourite of mine. The Gallery houses the greatest collection of Italian Renaissance art hence it is unsurprising that it has the highest number of visitors each year. With over 45 Halls spread within the Gallery, be sure to plan your visit accordingly. If you don't fancy going in, you could simply wander within the compound of the Gallery. You could observe aspiring artists doing their thing, pick art pieces to bring home or get your very own portrait sketched. 

The Boboli Garden is beautiful and it is more than a green spacescape of Florence. The expansive nature of the Garden means it could offer a combination of green landscape, sculpture, fountains and peaceful atmosphere for garden lovers and avid walkers. There is plenty of nooks and corners to explore. It is best done when you feel like doing something free and easy but still want to feel like you are exploring and discovering.

While I feel that I've seen the highlights of Florence, there is plenty of the details yet to be seen such as the real David. I guess it can only mean that it is worth a re-visit in the future.


Sunday, 21 January 2018

New In #4 - New Year's Skincare Haul

Unlike other fashion items, skin care products don't go on sales often. Having said that, there are instances when you will see me making a beeline to beauty counters to stock up on my can't live without beauty products. And those instances are when I am at the airport in the duty-free shops, when department stores do special beauty promotions, and when brands offer gifts with purchase.

During the recent sales, I have stocked up on a few of my beauty favourite items and today, I thought I'd share what I bought recently with you. It is a small haul but it's a mixed bag of products that I am repurchasing and trying out for the first time. 

The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum is a constant item in my beauty routine, as featured in my 2016 favourite post. Ignore the word 'Night' because it can definitely be used both in the morning and in the evening. I mainly use it as part of my night time beauty routine, but this winter there have been occasions when I apply it on to my skin in the morning as well. It is light and sinks into my skin in no time at all. This means it doesn't add any more time to my morning routine when I am often rushing to get out of the door, but it gives the added advantage of leaving my skin feeling fresh, hydrated, and looking more rested. 

The Clinique Smart Custom Serum is relatively new to me and this is the first repurchase since I've incorporated it into my daytime beauty routine. The serum comes in between my 3-steps skincare routine and moisturiser. The primary reason I decided to try the Smart Custom Serum is that of its multitasking ability. With the endless choices for serums on the market, I wanted something that could address all my concerns; dehydration, dullness, lack of radiance, uneven tone and ageing. I don't have all these concerns all the time or at once, but our skin can be temperamental at times be it due to hormonal, diet or the weather. This serum is called 'Smart' because it has properties that address all of my concerns. It evens out skin tone, improves radiance, tackles lines and wrinkles, and lifts and firms the skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid which gives hydration and plumps up the skin. It is 'Smart' enough to identify what the skin needs at a particular time and will address those. This means not only my bathroom shelves are less cluttered, but also keeps my bank account happy from not having to buy an endless number of products to address different concerns.

The final item I bought, the Clinique Smart Custom Moisturizer is a new item that I've not used before but would like to give it a go. I still have a tiny bit of the Estee Lauder Revitalising Supreme + Global Anti Aging Power Creme left which has been my moisturiser of choice in the last 3-4 years. There is certainly nothing wrong with it. I just feel that I wanted to try something new and to see what the combination of the Smart serum and moisturiser will do to my skin. Both the Estee Lauder and the Clinique moisturisers are comparable in terms of their multitasking abilities. The added advantage of the Clinique Smart Moisturizer is it comes with an SPF15. While this is an experimental purchase, I am looking forward to using it.

Have you bought or tried new beauty products recently? 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

New Year's Afternoon Tea At the Intercontinental The O2

While most people kicked off 2018 with resolutions to eat healthily, cut-off sugar and booze after the Christmas period binge, I did the complete opposite.

One of the gifts I received for Christmas was a Champagne Afternoon Tea at the Intercontinental The O2, which has an expiry date of 31 January 2018. After a super relaxing 12 days Christmas-New Year's holiday, returning to work on 2 January was rather challenging, to say the least. Throughout the week, I felt I was experiencing a jet lag. I felt I needed to head to bed as soon as I finished work. I definitely needed something to look forward to to get through the week, so I thought what better time to redeem the gift voucher I received. It was also the perfect opportunity as London was pretty quiet still as not everyone had returned to the grind, and to prolong the holiday feeling a little bit more before life gets busy again.

The Intercontinental at The O2 is a stone-throw away from where I live, and if I wanted to, I could walk from home (I should, but I didn't). The Afternoon Tea is served at the Meridien Lounge, on the Ground Floor of the Hotel. With the view of Canary Wharf and the relaxed atmosphere, it was the perfect spot for a relaxing Afternoon Tea either with your family or your friends.

In terms of the spread, you get to choose between a brut or rose champagne. An option without champagne is also available. The tea range is listed over three pages and the spread of finger sandwiches, scones and cakes were beyond delectable. I went for the rose blend tea which is often my choice of tea for Afternoon Tea. It is subtle, light and has the nicest but not overpowering aroma. 

I was particularly impressed with the selection of the mini sandwiches and sweet treats. There were pretty, delicate and cleverly curated with a mixture of unique flavours and ingredients that work together while still maintaining the classic Afternoon Tea feel.

The finger sandwiches included cheddar cheese and pickle on carrot bread, cucumber and radishes on beetroot bread, smoked salmon with cream cheese on basil bread and truffle egg on a brioche bun. As I don't eat pork, I swapped the ham sandwich with a chicken sandwich. 

I felt that the classic scones were perfect to cleanse my palate before moving on from the scrumptious savoury sandwiches to the sweet treats which included Blackberry Bonbon Torte, Plum and Custard Verrine, Pear and Apple Tart, Spiced Chocolate Pyramid and Quince Macaroon. 

I truly enjoyed the experience and I thought it was a great way to celebrate the end of the first working week of 2018.