First Food Festival of 2016

Tasty food from Surrey Food Festival in Richmond

Tasty treats from Surrey Food Festival – tea, coffee, cakes, cookies and olive oil

I visited the Surrey Food Festival at Richmond’s Old Deer Park last weekend, and had a lovely time trying out lots of tasty food and drink in my local area and meeting some great people.

I met some fantastic artisan food providers, from the wonderfully meaty cuisine of Meat The Chef (chicken skin skin-on fries, anyone?), to Sussex oil and vinegar makers, Stratta, to the delightful team at tea and sweet treat makers, Brew and Bites, who tempted me with Persian sweet treats and their beautiful tea and coffee blends. I also found plenty of gluten and dairy free fare to taste and take home, thanks to Wholesome Bakes and online marketplace Free From Market. We even bought a few cheeky bottles of wine from The Vineking, which we were able to try out and taste at the festival and then, once we’d got expert advice from the wine experts on the stand, bring our favourites home with us.

So much good food and drink to take home
I returned with an impressive haul: herb flavoured olive oils from Stratta, Rosy Grey tea and Colombian coffee from Brew and Bites, gluten and dairy free cakes and cookies from Wholesome Bakes, and, of course, a cheeky Prosecco and Cabernet Sauvignon from local wine specialists, The Vineking.

Afternoon tea at home with treats from Surrey Food Festival

My own afternoon tea at home with tea and treats from the Surrey Food Festival and my new bespoke coasters from Individually Inspired

Time for tea
The obvious thing to do when I got home was to have my own special afternoon tea with my tasty treats, so I brewed up a refreshing and delicate pot of Rosy Grey, a blend of Ceylon black loose leaf tea, bergamot, rose petals and rose buds.

The tea is so pretty and smells divine – almost too good to drink! But drink it I did, and it was exactly what was needed after wandering around outside for a few hours and feeling a little tired after all the fresh air!

Paired with a gluten and dairy free raspberry cupcake and served on the lovely Tea with Rachael coasters that Individually Inspired made for me, it was the perfect time to take a moment and relax. I also had a good look through the show guide and the Taste Awards brochure for inspiration for other fabulous foodie finds!

Rosy Grey tea from Brew and Bites

Rosy Grey tea from Brew and Bites – looks and smells too pretty, but tastes just as good to drink!

I’ll be heading to Foodies Festival at Syon Park again next Bank Holiday weekend with some fellow foodie friends, so am looking forward to enjoying our VIP tickets and trying even more tasty treats!

Until next time, hope you also get to enjoy some fabulous food this Bank Holiday weekend – a whole extra day to take the time to sit back, relax, and have a good cup of tea! (And maybe a cake or two…!)

Enjoy,

Rachael xx

 

Autumn is here – time to get cosy

I’ve been having a little break from blogging for a while, for a number of reasons, so it seems fitting that I should pick things up again in the Autumn, particularly on the day the clocks go back!

Time to get cosy

Autumn is here – time to get cosy

I have so many tea adventures, local events and vintage finds to share, it will keep me busy for some time!

I will also be introducing some guest bloggers and contributors over the coming weeks and months, sharing their love of vintage, tea, home decoration, fashion and beauty.

New guest contributor – Gordon Harpur of Vintiqa.com
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Gordon Harpur of Vintiqa.com, an online treasure trove of vintage and antique furniture and homewares. Vintiqa was set up as a fuss-free alternative to ebay and Gumtree for vintage, design and antique lovers. The fabulous finds are from all up and down the country and curated personally by the team, as well as them handling the logistics, such as delivery, for you. Definitely people after my own heart!

Vintage finds of the week
Gordon will be selecting his top picks to share on Tea with Rachael and I hope you will enjoy browsing and finding your own vintage treasures on Vintiqa. My personal favourite find this week is this stunning marble topped antique bedside table. A rather grand addition to any bedroom, and it provides plenty of storage, which is always a must for me!

Or how about a rustic Danish farmhouse rocking chair, which I think would be perfect draped with cosy blankets and snuggled with some cushions on a chilly autumnal evening?

Danish Rocking Chair

A lovely, rustic Danish rocking chair on Vintiqa

That’s exactly what I’m going to do right now – curl up in a cosy chair with my favourite cushions and fluffy blankets – and a cup of tea, naturally!

Until next time, stay cosy and enjoy the cold autumn days and nights in style, with a good cuppa. I’ll be back to catch up soon.

Rachael xx

Time for a cosy cup of tea

Time for a cosy Autumn cuppa

Bloggers Love – Bloggers Fashion Week

Bloggers Fashion Week

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Bloggers Love Bloggers Fashion Week with my  fellow blogger at the Penthouse in London’s Leicester Square.  A packed room with a live DJ greeted us – a wonderland of fashion finds and shiny, sparkly goodies!

My friend and I started the evening with a Bloggers Love inspired cocktail each, a Bloggertini!  The fetching shade of bright pink matched rather well with my pink-tinged outfit, all in keeping with the “Summer Garden Party Chic” theme.

Bloggertinis

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Jara Wine halterneck dress

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

My eye was first drawn to some beautiful silky dresses in pastel-hued patterns.  The lovely Jara Wine uses top-quality French fabric to create her light, floaty, and incredibly feminine dresses and tops.  Each stunning pattern lends itself to two distinct designs of dress, one halter neck and one with a round neck and short sleeves.  I have my eye on the lovely peachy-pink French bicycle-patterned dress, but can’t decide between the two styles.  Could I justify both, I wonder?!Jara Wine short sleeve bicycle print dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cako Cocktail T-shirt

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Next we spotted some suitably summery T-shirts and vest tops, but with a difference!  Cako’s ingenious designs appear black and white at first glance, but when exposed to UV Light, come alive with colour!  We couldn’t see the magic happen at night, but were amazed to see the transformation demonstrated on their website.  And if you don’t fancy rainbow brights, a luxe monochrome look can be achieved with their equally striking sparkly designs in both black and white cotton.  My personal favourite is the Audrey Hepburn design – a true fashion icon and my favourite actress of all time.  Unsurprisingly, this popular design had sold out on the night!  I’m putting my order in online, in time for my girly holiday to Paris in a few weeks!

Tutti Rouge brasMore pretty pink glistened at me from the corner of my eye – this time in the guise of a stunning silky bra from Tutti Rouge.  I’m an absolute sucker for beautiful lingerie, and was delighted that this range comes in an enormous range of sizes.  Being fairly amply-busted, I will definitely be making the most of their special offer so I can stock up on delicate matching sets for Spring and Summer – and something sultry for my upcoming special anniversary! 😉

Thinking about packing beautiful things to wear for my forthcoming trips, I stumbled across eskay W – named after the fabulous Mr S K Wong and his extraordinary reversible outfits!  I’ve never been one to pack light, but think I could be converted by these impressive little numbers.  It was a pleasure to meet a designer with such a passion for his art – he really exudes joy when talking about his collections, of which he should rightfully be proud!  And thinking forward to Autumn/Winter, eskay W were proudly launching their suitably-titled Darker Hues collection.Eskay W

While chatting to the delightful Mr Wong, more shiny loveliness glinted at me from the corner – shimmering silk scarves from Guirado Design, hanging from a beautiful antique screen.  Here was another explosion of colour and artistic expression, like paint splashed with abandon across a canvas.  The reason for this is all this is a wonderful story about how this fashion business came into being.  Dani Choyen of Thinkers HQ explained to us that the scarves were designed to bring to life the inspirational artwork of the artist Juan Antonio Guirado, who began his career as a mural painter in Madrid and sadly died in 2010.  After her father passed away, his daughter, Catalina Guirado, inherited Juan Antonio’s artwork and embarked on a journey to discover more about her father’s life and body of work, and to share his collections with art critics and a global audience.  In support of his work, Catalina founded Guirado Design in 2013, a unique collection of luxury silk scarves featuring a select number of her father’s paintings, chosen for their distinct embodiment of Guirado’s signature style, from the years shortly before his death.

Guirado Design scarvesSilk is the ideal medium to display Guirado’s art, and the Autumn/Winter collections are also available in luxurious and toasty-warm cashmere.  Photographs don’t really do justice to the intricate designs on these scarves, but the kaleidoscope colours are here for all to see!

Still not having bought anything, I spotted some more beauties at the lovely blogger-turned-boutique-owner Melanie Grunshaw’s pop-up boutique for I Want Your Clothes – and this time, I just had to buy, there and then!  I have been following Melanie’s blog for some time, so was both surprised and delighted to learn that she has set up her own clothing business.

Tour EiffelI bought two springlike pieces, both perfect for my visit to Paris after Easter!  The first was a silky, fine knit with a delicate rose print.  I love blouse/jumper combinations like this, and it matches most of my existing wardrobe!  Yet more sparkle caught my eye here, with a cute Eiffel Tower sweatshirt, made out of really unusual textured fabric.  I will wear this with pride on the Eurostar!

IWYC rose sweaterNext, I made a beeline for Nadia Minkoff – what an honour for her to be here, meeting bloggers and talking about her collections!  She very generously gave me some dainty, sparkly earrings when I instantly fell for – yes, you’ve guessed it – a gold handbag!  The subtle gold envelope clutch is just the right size, in butter-soft leather (oh, the smell!) and will be perfect for when I attend the prestigious UKFT Awards next month, paired with my gladiator-style Jimmy Choo heels.  Planning my outfit already…

Nadia Minkoff bags

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Nadia Minkoff bag and jewellery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was even more excited (think whoops of joy!) when I opened my parcel to find a little envelope with a tea-time design in pink(!) nestled inside – and found the most perfect “Tea with Rachael” necklace, complete with a tiny blue teapot and cute little cupcake!  I put it on straightaway for my afternoon tea and visit to Kew Gardens with family!

Rachel Black hats and fascinators

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

I also treated myself to more sparkle in the form of some dainty hair decorations from a fellow Rachel and fantastic milliner, Rachel Black – perfect for the upcoming Twenties-themed Secret Tea Society Annual Tea at Byfleet Manor (the Dowager Countess’s House from Downton, don’t you know?!)

Phew!  My inner magpie has officially taken flight and soared off to feather my nest with all these beautiful things!  Must be time for a cup of tea – and a lovely pink cupcake!

think pink

Have a sparkling evening!

Rachael X