Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Afternoon tea at the Athenaeum Mayfair

I love everything about afternoon tea! If only I could be a lady of leisure and take afternoon tea in a 5* hotel every day... Alas, I will have to make do with formal afternoon tea on special occasions! When our good friend Michaela got engaged recently, Victoria suggested we celebrate by treating ourselves to afternoon tea, to which we all replied with a resounding YES! On Sunday Michaela, Victoria, Marie-Claire and I met for tea at the Athenaeum hotel in Mayfair and much fun was had by all! 

The GPs! L-R: Marie-Claire, Victoria, Me, Michaela

The hotel itself is lovely both inside and out, and the afternoon tea room was particularly resplendent in appearance. Soft plush chairs and carpets in reds and creams, we had a lovely big section to ourselves, perfect for a much needed catch-up and general GP fun (more on that later!) 
Top L-R: Victoria, Michaela, Marie-Claire; cake stand!; Holding the amazing tea menu; Victoria looking gorgeous 

Top L-R: Marie-Claire sipping her fruity tea; Michaela's special congratulations cake!; Victoria holding the much coveted tea menu; Michaela showing off her special cake (and beautiful engagement ring!)

Top L-R: Spotlight on delicious hot chocolate and my Jasmine Green Tea; the GPs (that's us!); the GPs again; random naked lady in the lobby

I need to get my hands on a tea menu like that for home. It's basically a tea book! Loved it. The selection was extensive, making it quite difficult to make a decision but I finally decided to try the Jasmine Green Tea as I'm a green tea obsessive at the moment. I have to admit, it wasn't quite what I was expecting, in that it tasted kinda like sipping on a bunch of flowers... Which I should have realised, because, duh, it's jasmine flavoured tea. Anyhoo, it was still tasty, just a little too strong once on the third cup! 

Victoria also went for the Jasmine Green Tea, while Marie-Claire had a fruity berry concoction and Michaela opted for a hot chocolate. Coffee was also available for coffee drinkers! We were presented with various sandwiches and sweet treats, including a cream cheese and cucumber sandwich (tradition at its finest!), a ham and pickle sandwich and the humble yet popular egg sandwich. A little selection of chocolate covered strawberries, cheesecake chunks,champagne jellies and fruit tarts were also included on the cake stand, all of which needless to say got munched sharpish. As soon as you empty a section of the cake stand it's immediately restocked, meaning you can be as gluttonous as you like without feeling like a greedy guts! 

After the sandwiches we had a selection of warm scones with clotted cream and runny jam, which were sooooo good. After we'd polished those off a waiter walked by with a cake trolley and we each had a slice of cake. I went for the banana cake which was delicious, although I was feeling really full by this stage! Michaela was presented with a special engagement celebration cake which caused all of us to squeal loudly before diving for our phones to snap some pictures, clearly a sign of our times! Everything tasted amazing and the tea was lovely, well worth the £29.50 per person price tag. You really can stuff your face and keep on going until your time slot expires! We were there from 12.30-3pm (there are three slots throughout the day, we picked the 12.30 slot) which gave us plenty of time to chit chat. 

I've known the GPs well for almost seven years now after the four of us bonded during a school trip to Italy in Sixth Form. We had the BEST time abroad and basically didn't get much sleep as we couldn't stop talking the. whole. time. What does GP stand for?! Erm, well, none of us are qualified doctors so it doesn't allude to a profession! I'm afraid that's a secret I'll have to take to the grave, but I can say we each have a special GP nickname. While I can't divulge our secrets at risk of being excommunicated, I can tell you a little about each GP!

After out Italian trip, Marie-Claire and I ended up taking gap years before heading off to uni, and we both worked as Learning Support Assistants at our secondary school for a year. We had a blast planning and delivering extra curricular activities such as a Friendship Workshop and Creative Club, during which we showed a bunch of Year 7s an extensive clip from The Others during 'scary story week'... Only to end up screaming in the corner while the Year 7s looked on, perplexed. We spent a lot of time making resources for our students and generally trying to make classwork more accessible for them. Marie-Claire's out going nature and confidence gave me a huge boost, especially during times when I just wanted the ground swallow me up due to feeling insecure and really, really shy. Not with the students, but with the staff who just a year previously had been our teachers. I think Marie-Claire handled the transition better than I did! She always made projects so much fun and has a wicked sense of humour, meaning she was awesome to work with! Marie-Claire is also really proactive and is constantly planning things and grabbing opportunities, which I really admire. We both cried bucket loads when the last day of the summer term arrived, as it was off to uni and time to enter the 'real world' away from school and everything that felt familiar. I am so proud of M-C, who graduated with flying colours and has worked her ass off building a career in the media industry as a writer. She began a new job recently and I have no doubt she'll have her own column and book release before we know it! 

I ended up back at our old school in the role of Learning Support Assistant no later than a year after I left, and this time Michaela joined the team after graduating from uni. It's a great pit stop for gaining all sorts of work experience and once again I had a blast working alongside one of my friends. Michaela and I shared the same drive when it came to speaking up for the needs of the students we worked with, giving them a voice and making sure they were heard, even if it didn't always go down too well with those higher up... I'm sure that drive to help others is what led to our current career choices. Michaela is training to be a psychotherapist working with children and young people, and I have no doubt she will be absolutely amazing at it. We didn't just bond at work, though, as we're both interested in all things spiritual and while I read tarot Michaela reads runes! We both love spiritual events and I went to a Treadwell's Open Circle with Michaela which was so interesting and insightful. Michaela is the friend I turn to for all things spiritual but also for lots of relationship things, especially now that we're both wedding planning!!! Something I really admire about Michaela is how she won't back down if something she believes in is being attacked or ignored. We worked with some very vulnerable students, and their situations often left us feeling quite emotional and isolated. If those above us refused to acknowledge the extent of a situation, if they chose to slip into 'cheerful denial' mode, Michaela wouldn't let them get away with it, something we both felt strongly about. She would always fight for her students and that's a trait I'm sure she carries through to fighting for her family and friends too. 

Victoria went to primary school with Chris and now they work for the same company in the same office block! It's so funny how your connection with someone can weave in and out throughout life. After the Italy trip I continued to get to know Victoria in our Classics class (with Marie-Claire too!) and as she dated one of Chris's friends for a while we had a double date or two which gave us even more time to hang out. While we haven't worked together we've still managed to find plenty of bonding time! Haha, only one GP who hasn't worked at our secondary school, come on Victoria, it's never too late! ;) Victoria is super kind and caring, and has been there for me through some really difficult times over the past year or so without judgement. I know I can share health related concerns with her and she'll listen without telling me what to do, which is something I really value. I love our dinner dates, complete with a good bottle of wine and plenty of chit chat. Victoria is so assertive and is always willing to argue her case and have a good old debate.  She has a wide repertoire of random facts which always seem to come in handy!  I love her kindhearted streak and her focus on family, and she's a friend you can really rely on for support. If an event is organised, she'll always make the effort to attend, or better yet she'll plan something herself like our afternoon tea! I'd like to wish Victoria the best of luck this week as she's just started a new job. I have no doubt she'll settle in straightaway as she's so approachable and friendly. 

I'm so grateful for the friendships we share as the GPs and I know that we'll be friends for years to come, no matter how our lives may change or how our paths may differ. The plan is to have babies at the same time though, so hopefully we can share parenthood experiences ;) Thanks girls for such a nice Sunday afternoon, and thanks Victoria for organising such a special day out. And of course, CONGRATULATIONS to Michaela and Josh on their engagement!!! We spent a good chunk of time swooning over her amazing engagement story while sipping our tea. So romantic!

GP memories! Top L-R: Celebrating my engagement with dinner; Marie-Claire and I hugging it out!; Striking a pose with Michaela; GP dinner!

Shenanigans! Not sure what exactly is going on here!; Posing at a summer BBQ at mine a few years ago

Then and now!

Baci e abbracci, 
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  1. I love this Imy. It brought a tear to my eye that you see these things in me! Such a lovely post, I may have to do my own version! Xxx

    1. Aaw I'm so glad you liked it! You girls are amazing and deserve to be recognised as such!xxx

  2. Such a lovely post, sounds like an amazing group of friends, and amazing cakes!

    Hmm maybe...

    1. They really are such wonderful friends! And oh my, the cakes were pretty wonderful too! So scrummy, especially the scones :D xxx


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