Tag Archives: Tea

Yoga at Bamford Spa

After all the planning (and then indulgence) of Thanksgiving, it was time to escape the city and chill out. I booked into a morning yoga class at and we skittered out to the country for a relaxing weekend.

Bamford Haybarn Day Spa falls under the umbrella of Daylesford farm shops, the tiny solitary cork plugging the stop in the huge demand for luxury home and lifestyle brands. It’s overpriced, full of desperate housewives, and it gives my husband the heebie-jeebies just pulling into the packed parking lot. But it does the trick with no Williams-Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, or Dean & Deluca around the corner for competition.

The upside is that there’s no better place to pick up your organic veg, freshly baked bread, premium cheeses and basic household staples.

Daylesford Bamford Spa Fountain

Cotswold Entrance

Daylesford Enter

Daylesford Squash Table Display Varieties

Daylesford Veg Cart Display Boxes

Plus, did I mention they have a spa? Oh, that’s right, of course I did.

Daylesford Baybard Wellness Retreat

Daylesford Bamford Spa Lotions and Potions

The entrance is laden with the requisite line of bath and spa products, and a respectable stash of flimsy, flowing yogawear. I flirted with the thought of how much better my hatha class might be if I purchased a strand of Bamford Indian prayer beads… But I only had time enough for a pot of tea in the lounge before I had to be on the mat.

Daylesford Bamford Spa Fountain Driftwood

Daylesford Bamford Spa Loungers

The spa lounge is a sun-bleached solarium with lots of plush linen loungers to nestle upon as you gaze out on the country landscape – basically, like looking out on my childhood back yard, but all the same, deeply comforting.

Daylesford Bamford Haybarn Tea Tray

Daylesford Bamford Spa Tea Tray

Up the spiral staircase and through the knee-walled practice space, is the entrance to the studio.

Daylesford Bamford Spa Yoga Room

Daylesford Bamford Spa Yoga Beads

Daylesford Bamford Spa Yoga Mat Buddha

The hour and a half hatha class was an absolute dream – the instructor tranquilly chanted and coaxed us through the postures, and I came out feeling completely restored.

Daylesford Bamford Spa White Rimmed Water Glass

The other perk to Bamford yoga is getting to do a cheeky bit of shopping before my ride comes to collect me.

Daylesford Shopping Bag Walking Car Park

Later that afternoon, the boys went for their daily dose of recreation at the local golf course, and I tagged along. They teed up at the driving range, thwacking one dimpled ball after the next into the mist-coated yonder.

Cotswold Golf Course Driving Range Swing

Cotswold Golf Course Driving Range Swoing

Cotswold Driving Range Wellies Swing

They made it look so easy, I couldn’t resist taking a couple of swings myself…

Cotswold Driving Range Swing

Cotswolds Golf Swing

With somewhat less finesse!

I definitely make a better caddy than a player.

Cotswold Golf Course Driving Range Glove

Cotswold Golf Course Sunset

As the sun set and the temperature started to drop, we retired our clubs and warmed up by a toasty log fire.

Cotswold Sunset Golf Course Path

Cotswold Man and his Fire

Cotswold Fire

I spent the evening warming my back against the fire, penning my letter to Santa Claus… Maybe those Indian prayer beads will make it into my stocking come Christmas day 🙂

Lomax 3-Day Juice Cleanse

I’ve never been one to shy away from extremes. So after my hen weekend, it seemed only fitting to embark on a detoxifying 3-day juice cleanse.

How it works: For three days, I replace all meals with cold-pressed organic juices.

The idea is to give my digestive system a rest, allow my liver to repair itself and my body to shed toxins.

The days before I started the cleanse, I ate super-healthy meals. My last meal was a from a newly launched nutritional brand called Vereo. They promote a concept of wellbeing by offering healthy balanced dishes designed by their Michelin trained development chef, for busy people on the go.

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The last food to pass my lips was fresh, healthy and delicious, and prepared me to start my cleanse the next day.

Okay, bring on the juices!

I chose the Lomax Cleanse. The juices must be picked up each day from their cafe on Fulham Road in Chelsea. Each day I had five juices – three main ones, with two in between to keep me going.

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Here I go with the first juice of day 1!

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During the cleanse, I was instructed to drink lots and lots of water. Coffee and alcohol are prohibited, but green and herbal teas are allowed. I drank many, many cups of Pukka’s Detox blend.

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Three days went by so much faster than I expected. The only side effects I can report were feeling a little weak at times, and unusually cold a lot of the time!

The benefits were increased alertness, feeling light and healthy – and by the end – a way flatter tummy!

I even felt I could go longer than three days. But it was nice to get back to real food, which I eased back into with a few days of raw veg – like this salad with miso dressing from Le Pain Quotidien.

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I will definitely be doing this cleanse again before the wedding to get me in healthy and balanced bridal form!

But I think I’ll save it for another rainy day down the road…

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Thanks to my brother for the awesome Maryland flag umbrella!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Tea at Fortnum & Mason

If I had to sum up England using only three words, one of them would definitely be “tea.” As the largest per capita tea consumers in the world, Brits can’t get enough of the stuff. They drink heaps of it. My fiancé’s first memories of drinking tea begin when he was aged 7 years old. Afternoon tea is a ceremonial embodiment of English culture and, here and in London, it’s been elevated to an art form.

Whenever someone asks me what to do in London – be it a weekend holiday, a business trip, or a layover at the airport – I say, have tea. It’s traditional, it’s refined, it’s an occasion.  As the official grocer to the Queen, Fortnum & Mason is known for its ubiquitous luxury hampers, and is bursting with gourmet British foodstuffs. It has been proudly sourcing tea for over 300 years, and was the first department store to offer afternoon tea to their customers.

It was the last weekend before Christmas, all the gifts were wrapped and under the tree, and it was pouring down rain – so I could think of no better place to spend the afternoon! We headed right up to the recently renovated Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, atop Piccadilly on the Fourth Floor. It’s a stunning space accented all over in that signature robin egg blue.

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The Tasting Room is the perfect place for a private lunch, or an exclusive afternoon tea.

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In our private room, we didn’t have to hush our voices (or our laughter) – we were free to have our little tête-à-tête without worrying about any nearby diners eavesdropping on our very civilized and intellectual discussions.9 10

Twice-Baked Shropshire Ham & Barbers Cheddar Soufflé with Honey Mustard Butter Sauce

Twice-Baked Shropshire Ham & Barbers Cheddar Soufflé with Honey Mustard Butter Sauce

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I ordered Fortnum’s Savoury Afternoon Tea. I love how the English linger over high tea. It’s so relaxed. The waiters don’t rush you. You are free to nibble each selection at your own leisurely pace. First, come the savouries – finger sandwiches, followed by savory canapes – exotic breads, delicate pastries, with delicious piquant toppings.

Finger Sandwiches: Cucumber with Cream Cheese, Rare Breed Hen Egg with Mustard Cress, Rare Roast Beef with Gherkin & Caper Dressing, Fortnum's Smoked Salmon with Lemon Dill Butter, Coronation Chicken

Finger Sandwiches: Cucumber with Cream Cheese, Rare Breed Hen Egg with Mustard Cress, Rare Roast Beef with Gherkin & Caper Dressing, Fortnum’s Smoked Salmon with Lemon Dill Butter, Coronation Chicken

Afternoon Tea Savouries: London Smoked Salmon on Blini with Lemon & Caper Cream Cheese, Carpaccio of Venison on Mushroom Toast with Horseradish Cream & Hazelnut, Tomato Savory Financier with Pesto Cream, Black Olive & Silver Anchovy with Pistachio Praline, Rosary Goat's Cheese on Walnut Shortbread with Beetroot

Afternoon Tea Savouries: London Smoked Salmon on Blini with Lemon & Caper Cream Cheese, Carpaccio of Venison on Mushroom Toast with Horseradish Cream & Hazelnut, Tomato Savory Financier with Pesto Cream, Black Olive & Silver Anchovy with Pistachio Praline, Rosary Goat’s Cheese on Walnut Shortbread with Beetroot

No afternoon tea is complete without scones…

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And tea! Your own little pot, which the “tearistas” keep filling up with hot water to keep it constantly steeping for a refreshing classic “cuppa.” P17 P18 P19

We spent the better part of the afternoon stirring and sipping our cups and taking in the fine English tradition of tea. Afterwards, I couldn’t help tugging a reluctant arm into the Christmas Shop for quick browse. I loved wandering around through an endless array of ornaments and holly, taking in those familiar holiday scents – orange, cinnamon, and pine.

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A visit to 181 Piccadilly always promises a magical afternoon whatever the season – but this afternoon was what London Christmas dreams are made of.