For my Nan’s Christmas treat, we have taken her on a couple of afternoon tea’s throughout the year – her first was at Braxted Bakery which you can read about here and this weekend we took her to Bluebell Tearooms in Danbury. My sister and I have been here before which I wrote about earlier in the year and marked at an 8/10 – I have re-read this review to bring back fresh memories of the day.
Unfortunately this time I was unable to have the afternoon tea due to my intolerances 🙄 so I came along and had something off the main menu. I played it safe with a jacket potato and beans with a side salad (no dressing), although there were other options available on the menu – sandwiches, quiche, soup etc. none would be suitable for me. I did spot a sign offering gluten free options so if this is something you require it is worth a visit. My jacket spud was a great size and I enjoyed it, however I do have to say the afternoon tea looked delicious and it wasn’t easy watching my sister and Nan munch their way through it 🤤. They were given the option to choose 3 fillings for their sarnies which I think is a great idea to be sure you are given something that you enjoy, I don’t recall having this option previously so I see this as an improvement. A fruit scone was on the next tier, one each and no option of having this heated although that didn’t seem like a problem for either my Nan or Sister who managed to get this down them in record time. I guess they had concerns over my jealous stares and felt they had to get it in them before I tried grabbing it from their hands 😑. Now the cakes, my god the cakes – they looked unbelievably tasty and the improvement on last time was not only that the macaroon was chocolate but also there was a cake each!! Of my 3 favourite types of cake, chocolate brownie, lemon slice and a Victoria sponge. This afternoon tea looked amazing, I am not sure if this is down to the fact I couldn’t eat it and I always want what I can’t have but it looked better and smelt nicer than any afternoon tea I can remember 😂. After discussing this with my sister we have agreed the improvements made from our previous visit deserve a half a point increase to an 8.5/10. My Nan particularly enjoyed the ambiance of this tearoom and loved the way the table was decorated.
Inspired by our numerous afternoon teas out my mum arranged to do myself, my sister, my Nan and her two sisters (Aunty Shirley and Janet) a homemade afternoon tea. I was very much looking forward to this until I had the news that I would be unable to eat the majority (all) of the foods included within an afternoon tea. So, I took my own lunch round and watched the family enjoy a very lovely looking afternoon tea –not able to rate this one myself I have conferred with my sister for the grading.
The table was set very nicely, just like a tea room with a pretty table cloth and the sandwiches and cakes were set out on special afternoon tea plates. Flowers were presented in the middle of the table inside a cardboard tea pot which I thought was a nice touch. The sandwiches were filled with a great selection of prawns, egg mayo, ham and cheese with an onion chutney and were crust less and cut into cute triangles. Next up was the scones, now – these weren’t homemade or warmed up but they were from the local bakers and not only did they look delicious but they were also a great size. A large pot of cream was provided with Tiptree strawberry jam, a discussion took place regarding how this should be put on the scones and although we all know which way is the correct way, the outcome was pretty split. Prosecco was served whilst the afternoon tea was being enjoyed and this seemed to go down really well with everyone. The cakes were bought out on a tiered cake stand all looking yummy – a selection of butterfly cakes and cupcakes all in different flavours ranging from chocolate to strawberry and vanilla and a slice of carrot cake was also available (these were all purchased from M&S).
In between the cakes my mum had placed a variety of chocolates and some grapes and strawberries which looked great and I thought it was a nice idea to have these to break the cakes up a bit. I have to say I thought the presentation was really good so this began the marking off at a high level, my sister was very pleased with everything provided and it all tasted great. I think the only things that I could mark down here is that the scones weren’t warmed up (we all know this makes a difference) and the cakes weren’t homemade and therefore we will grade this at 9/10, maybe mum can do this next time to get full marks.
After my Nan had received vouchers for afternoon tea at (as it turns out) Tiptree Tea rooms (not Perrywoods after all….🤦🏻♀️) for Christmas we had arranged to go as a foursome. My sister and I were going to join my Nan and her sister Auntie Shirley, it had been arranged for weeks and although we couldn’t book we had decided we would turn up at about 3 in the hope that the lunch time rush would have left. Now, unfortunately I was unable to go due to IBS issues 😔 (I am doing my best not to let this disrupt my afternoon teaing so rest assured I will be back on form as soon as possible). However, I have asked both my sister and my Nan for their opinion on the afternoon tea and although we are unable to grade it as the rules state that both me and my sister have to be present (there’s no rule book, I am making these up as I go along 😏), please keep reading for a write up from their views.
Myself and my sister have been here before, you can read our review on it here, we had marked it at a 6.5/10. So, when I asked my sister what she thought her first words were ‘I think we were generous with the mark we gave it before’. Although there was nothing wrong with the afternoon tea here, she just expected more especially from a proper tearoom. Not being able to book meant there was about a half hour wait and to be honest this is never a good start, I don’t really know the reason behind not allowing bookings especially when you have vouchers – I’d have thought it would make things easier. Perhaps we have now been spoilt with some of the afternoon teas we have had, with this being only our second one on the score sheet we didn’t have much to compare it to. We were not keen on the fact we only got the one sandwich filling each previously and again we still feel this doesn’t reflect a true afternoon tea although it could be argued that at least you will know you like the flavour you have chosen. After having the choice of jam flavours (all Tiptree) presented to us at Perrywoods you would kind of expect this same option at a Wilkins tearoom, especially this one in Tiptree. Although the strawberry and champagne one they were all given was very nice it would have been good to have had a choice. Now, we both enjoy our scones warmed up so it’s always a little disappointing when this is not the case although it doesn’t take long for us to come to terms with this. It hits a lot harder when you only get 2 cakes each AND to top it off they were all different flavours so you had to choose the 2 you want. Quite frankly this can, and more than likely has in the past or will in the future cause arguments.
My Nan fully enjoyed her afternoon out – both her and Auntie Shirley had a lovely time and thought the ham they had chosen as their sandwich filling was delicious. Nan did feel it would be much better if they could have booked in for this afternoon tea because the wait wasn’t ideal although, luckily there was some seating available.
I don’t think we would ever say not to go here for an afternoon tea, its pleasant and tasty – it just doesn’t match up to some of the others we have been to. I would however, tell you to go here for a cuppa and a cake – even a sarnie, the menu looks great and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t enjoyed eating in any of the Tiptree tearooms.
A bike ride isn’t a bike ride without a stop off for cake, in fact this route was actually created to incorporated this visit to Paperlock Mill. We’ve eaten here before but this time it was just a short stop for a slice of cake, the 5 of us all had a piece including carrot cake, coffee and walnut and what looked like some type of flapjack bake. I had a very generous piece of rocky road, it was delicious – some would say a little too much, however I needed to refuel from the cycling so for me it was about right. This is a very popular stop off for cyclists and we saw many there in our short stay. The cake selection was vast, with a lot of choice but I would say not so much on the sarnie front. A bacon sarnie would have gone down extremely well with my friend Zoe so I know she was a little disappointed that this wasn’t available. Myself and Tina saw this as an opportunity to stop off somewhere else on the way home, I was crying inside when we rode straight past the turning for Heybridge Basin. Papermill Lock is a nice little place for a quick snack, or even lunch if you want a standard sandwich – teas, coffee and hot chocolate all on the menu and in the summer it’s a lovely place to watch the world go by.
The plan for today was to take a nice bike ride to Papermill Lock for a tasty piece of cake, we made it to Papermill Lock but without the bikes 😬 (I just couldn’t stand another hour of “CHANGE YOUR GEARS!” 🙄). Such a lovely day along the river. I find being by the water very relaxing especially with the sun on my skin so after choosing our cakes we sat outside by the riverbank. Choosing the cake wasn’t an easy task, there was at least 8 to choose from all looking delicious. I went for the lemon cake whilst my husband opted for a coconut slice, the picture does not do it justice. There was an issue getting the slice of cake onto my plate – I didn’t see this as a problem as it wasn’t on there for long 😂. I know what you’re thinking, Lemon isn’t my usual choice – its normally chocolate all the way but today I really fancied a refreshing lemon and I am glad I went for it. So tasty, no dryness at all and a great lemon taste that wasn’t too over powering mm mmmm! My husband also thoroughly enjoyed his coconut slice, I would recommend coming here for cake or lunch especially when the sun comes out to play, although I imagine it does get quite busy here in the summer months.
I can’t help but keep coming back to this lovely little tearoom, the afternoon tea’s and cakes have always been delicious and as the tea’s have changed since our last visit we decided we would grade this one again. This time it was made extra special with our Nan coming along as part of her Christmas treat. She had chosen to come here as one of the Afternoon tea’s we have promised her throughout the year 😊 So the three of us had our table booked and we sat straight down when we arrived, it was cosy and warm in the tearoom and fairly busy as it always is. We chose our tea and these arrived promptly followed by a short wait for our finger sandwiches (we had an egg roll each and a choice of Ham, Tuna and cucumber with cream cheese all with crusts removed), Scones (we had 2 small scones each, one fruit and one plain) with jam and cream and then a brilliant selection of cakes. 2 scones each! As you can imagine this pleased me no end 😁 I love a scone and they were both very tasty. The selection of cakes consisted of a strawberry Pavlova, Vienesse Swirl (I always forget how much I like these!!), chocolate brownie and a generous slice of lemon cake. Although some of the sandwiches were not to my taste, I fully enjoyed every single cake and was really impressed with the two scones each! It was a lovely afternoon with my sister and Nan and I actually enjoyed this afternoon tea more than our first visit which means we had to increase the score to a 9/10
So the plan of going to Choccywoccydoodah in Brighton after completing the marathon (you can read about my marathon experience here.) didn’t quite go to plan. Although we did visit the store I was unable to eat so gave the cake a miss and opted for a tasty rice crispy and fudge chunky bar. O.M.G! it was amazing! Was perfect for post marathon and the sections are so big and chunky I could have one at a time without needing to eat the whole bar. Must admit I was disappointed I had missed out on trying some of the cake, there was so much on the menu that I wanted to start working my way through!! So when we went to London earlier this week I couldn’t help but make a trip to the café there. Was a tough choice but went for the Everything Chocolate 5 layer cake… tasted goooood! But it was far too big for me to manage by myself, should probably have shared this with the husband – whoops. If I am honest I probably preferred the bar, it was so chunky and as I managed to make it last for a few days I didn’t end up feeling sick, but I will be wanting to go back to try out the dipping pots or the hot chocolates or perhaps the marshmallow biscuits……