If you hadn't gathered from the slightly odd un-beauty related title I went for afternoon tea, almost two week ago now... Jo Malone afternoon tea to be precise at Harvey Nichols in Manchester! Which was actually a treat from my fiance for my birthday the week after.
Now to be honest I'm more than likely going to ramble about the experience as I don't even drink tea, ever... I mean I actually can't stand it. Which is why I ended up ordering an orange juice for £6! I'm also not too keen on sandwiches or anything overly pretentious. So maybe not the best person to go for afternoon tea. However I do like pretty things, shopping, the odd cake or two and the whole idea of afternoon tea!
As mentioned the afternoon tea was inspired by the new Jo Malone limited edition fragrance; Sakura Cherry Blossom (which is why I was pretty excited) and you also receive an invite for a complimentary hand and arm massage at the Jo Malone beauty counter until the end of May - which my pessimistic beauty brain took to mean some stranger having you by the arm whilst trying to sell the new fragrance to you for five minutes! So I decided to skip that part as to be honest my arms really didn't need a massage...
So me and the boyfriend headed off to Harvey Nichols for our 4pm afternoon tea which didn't start off all that well if I am honest as we were greeted by a sign stating that there would be a private event on in the evening and all guests had to vacate by 5pm. Which was totally fine as we had planned to see Water for Elephants at 5:30 at The Printworks... however as a result of the private event there was a total lack of staff which meant everything seemed to take twice as long to do - so we did have to down our tea/orange at one point!
So we eventually got seated with a lovely view of the Manchester wheel/eye and I ordered the Lemon Verbena tea and Tim ordered a nasty pot of Earl Grey... which actually ended up me not liking either of the two teas and ordering an orange juice, but at least I tried, hey! As for the Sakura Cherry Blossom theme I had so far seen nothing of the sort. I mean there was a cut orchid on the table, a very beautiful orchid in fact... but it was no cherry blossom!
Shortly after, the tea and cake stand arrived and I couldn't fault any of it - the cakes, just so beautiful looking and the sandwiches all laid out with crust free edges, the presentation was just perfect. At this point I would tell you the names of each cake as they were all Cherry Blossom inspired (that was the part that was themed) however I was only given a copy of the standard afternoon tea menu after asking and now sadly can't remember the names of the cakes except for the cherry blossom infused macaroon which was amazing! So dense and perfect.
As for the finger sandwiches I tried my first ever egg and cress sandwich which I actually quite enjoyed and scoffed both mine and Tim's ham & mustard sandwiches as I wasn't too keen on any of the others - which included cucumbers, prawns and tomatoes which are all no-no's for me.
After the sandwiches we swiftly went onto the cakes and I loved all of them minus a slightly odd almost peppery tasting mandarin sponge cake and after three cakes I was more than full. So I asked for the top tier - the scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam to be boxed up so we could take them away with us...which due to the private event took 20 minutes to do so.
With the scones safely in my bag for whilst watching Water for Elephant we left fairly happy, until we noticed we had been over charged by £15 so had to go back in to get a refund.. which again took forever.
All in all the experience wasn't the best - the food was excellent and if I had been a tea drinker I'm sure that would of been spot on also but the service just wasn't there and as for the theme my interior design instincts kicked in and it actually frustrated me that so little effort had been put into the decor. I'd be tempted to say the Jo Malone theme was just an after thought but actually there was no thought put into it at all - except for the cakes of course.
Having said that, for £14.50 per person I really do think it is good value for money and I'm almost sure if I went on another day when a private event wasn't being prepared for the service would be a lot better. It sadly just wasn't to be I guess.
However seeing Water for Elephants definitely made up for the afternoon - just a wonderful & magical film!