Surprise Birthday Afternoon Tea

On the Sunday following my birthday I was told that I needed to be dressed in something ‘delightful and springy’ and ready to be picked up from my apartment at 1:30 for a surprise outing. Needless to say, I was intrigued…

After serious debate I decided on an old, favourite Zara dress with new H&M shoes and my delightful new Warehouse trench from Asos – bright, springy and ready for anything!

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On the dot of 1:30 my doorbell rang and I was greeted by Lucy and Ella bearing presents, flowers and the world’s largest and most delightful birthday balloon.

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After gifts (the BEST part of any birthday!) we hopped in an Uber to a mystery location (Ella to the driver: ‘DON’T SAY WHERE WE’RE GOING!’)

We wound our way through London and ended up at the gorgeous Landmark Hotel in Marylebone for afternoon tea. We were a bit early for our reservation so we grabbed a table in the Mirror Bar and indulged in some pre-tea cocktails and mocktails. I opted for the ‘Rather Refreshing’ which was a tasty mix of raspberries, elderflower cordial, apple juice and cranberry juice. Lucy got the ‘Berries Temptation’ and Ella went for a classic Aperol Spritz.

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There was a sense of anticipation as we sipped our drinks as the hostess had mentioned that we had a reservation for 5. Now, maths has never been my strong suit but I felt fairly confident that there were only three of us in the car on the way over…

The mystery was soon revealed though with the arrivals of my friends Sophie and Tilda. I was thrilled to see them and so excited for the tea ahead as we made our way into the gorgeous glass atrium.

We got a fantastic table in the heart of it all with views of the piano player (you know you’re at an exceptional afternoon tea if there’s a live piano player!) and the champagne/tea bar.

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What followed was one of the best afternoon teas I’ve had in London…and I’ve had a lot! The company was delightful, of course, but so were the sandwiches. We were a really easy-going group and only four out of five of us asked for alterations to the sandwich menu.

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We happily dug into the sandwiches and tea – I went for the Winter Garden blend which was fab. Not all the girls knew one another (they were super sneaky and got in touch to arrange everything with Graham’s stealthy help) so it was fun to see these wonderful women I’m lucky to call my friends laughing and chatting together.

After eating as many sandwiches as we could we moved on to warm, fluffy scones and jam.

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It’s little surprise that by the time they brought out the sweets we were all already sitting back in our chairs and needed a bit of a breather before diving in!

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The blueberry macaron was my favourite and had the fun bonus of turning all of our mouths dark blue. The adorable mini hot chocolate mug was beautifully presented but the gelatinous base was not exactly a crowd pleaser…

We had made our way through dessert when suddenly the piano struck up ‘Happy Birthday’ and a lovely cupcake arrived with a flourish.

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There was no way I was going to be able to eat another bite for probably the rest of the day (and I’m not a massive cake fan as it is – shocking, I know!) so I begged Sophie to take it home with her.

Stuffed and happy we sat enjoying the atmosphere and warm greenhouse feel for a while before heading out into the beautifully warm day.

But not without first marking the day with a photo op!

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Look at my gorgeous friends. Love them!

Sophie headed off to catch the Cambridge Oxford Boat Race (which we (Cambridge) won! – I say ‘we’ loosely as Graham’s the one who went there, not me, lol) and Tilda, Lucy, Ella and I decided to walk off our post-tea drowsiness in nearby Regent’s Park.

The blooms have been absolutely beautiful in London the past few weeks so it was the perfect time for a leisurely stroll and some silly picture taking.

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^ My new favourite ever picture of Tilda and I.

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Eventually real life called us back and we said goodbye before heading off in different directions.

I spent the tube journey home feeling grateful for the friends that I’ve made here in London and the experiences we’ve shared in my four years here. It was so sweet of them to plan such a lovely afternoon and to treat me to such a wonderful tea (book in for yours here). I was a very lucky birthday girl!

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