Tag Archives: tea

Things to do when visiting London

On my recent trip to the UK, my sister and I spent 7 full days in London, so you bet we did a lot of exploring. And I mean a lot! We walked so much that we actually had to take a day off just to recover because our legs and feet were hurting so much. Since I already talked about where to eat in London, in this post I’m going to focus things to do when visiting London.

Soho – Soho is a neighbourhood that’s a great place to go if you want to escape the hoards of tourists for a while. It’s part of the theatre district, and it also has a lot of great restaurants (check out 10 Greek Street, Bibimbap, Lick, and The Pudding Bar from this post), bars, and shopping. You’ll find stores like Diesel, Miss Sixty, and MAC, as well as independent boutiques and the department story Liberty.

Carnaby Street Soho

Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel – I saw this posted on Khushboo’s blog and I immediately added it to our itinerary. It was such a fun experience! First they let you choose your tea from a set of samples on the table, and they bring it out to you in adorable pots with paper crowns.

Sanderson Hotel afternoon tea

Then the feast comes… there were finger sandwiches (ham and grainy mustard on sun dried tomato bread was my favourite), scones, and of course pastries and desserts. The matcha mousse in an edible chocolate cup and the Victoria sponge cake were probably my top two favourites.

Sanderson Hotel afternoon tea

That wasn’t even it though – there was also a carrot meringue with filling, marshmallow mushrooms, and a “drink me” potion. The presentation of everything was seriously amazing, and it all tasted as good as it looked. I highly recommend this to everyone!

Sanderson Hotel afternoon tea

Borough Market – this farmers market is a foodie’s heaven. There are all sorts of vendors with produce, oil and vinegars, mushrooms, meat, and best of all, cheese. We must have sampled cheese from at least 5 or 6 different stalls.

Borough Market

There were also a million places with desserts like meringue and pastries, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any nut allergy friendly places except for Flaxjacks, which had a line of totally nut free granola bars. I went for the date bar, which was fantastic. There are also lots of stands with ready-to-eat foods like sausage on a bun, Indian food, grilled cheese, and Japanese. We split the gyoza and rice noodles with chicken – both were delicious.

Borough Market Japanese food

See a play/musical – we were lucky enough to get somewhat last minute tickets to see Matilda at Cambridge Theatre on my second Saturday night there. We had a hard time deciding amongst all the great theatre options: Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mamma Mia, The Lion King, The Commitments, etc. But I’m glad we went for Matilda – it was great to see one of my favourite childhood books/movies on stage. And the male actor playing Miss Trunchbull was spot on hilarious!

Matilda the musical

Hyde Park – I literally had no concept of the enormity of this park until I saw it. It is massive! On my last day in London we enjoyed a picnic lunch of focaccia, cured meats, and cheese one from Whole Foods, then went for a bike ride on rented bikes throughout the park.

Hyde Park

Portobello Market – This is a huge market that runs down Portobello Road in Notting Hill. There was everything from jewellery to vintage clothing to antique dishware to souvenirs. And of course there was tons of street food and baked goods as well.

Portobello market

Department stores – London has some seriously cool department stores. Harrods is the famous one, but personally I found it overcrowded with a confusing layout. I much preferred browsing the designer clothes and accessories at Liberty and Selfridges. Bonus: Selfridges has an awesome chocolate section!

Museums – I didn’t know this beforehand, but all museums in London are free, so they’re a great way to amuse yourself cheaply. We checked out the Science Museum (great exhibit on medicine through history), Victoria and Albert Museum (very cool “Disobedient Objects” exhibit and jewellery gallery), British Museum (loved the ancient Grecian sculpture), and my favourite: The National Gallery. I took a class on art history once, and it’s fascinated me ever since. It was awesome to see some of the paintings I’d studied in real life! I also highly recommend renting the headset for only a few pounds – getting to learn about the context and interpretations of the paintings really adds to the experience.

Crouching Venus

Historical sites and monuments – This is kind of a given, but I figured I’d throw it in here at the end. The Tower of London is a really neat site – but unlike what we thought, it’s not just a tower; it’s an entire fortress. So you definitely need to devote a good 2+ hours to this site. I also recommend buying the audio guide to learn more about its history.

Tower of London

We also made sure to visit the other famous sites like Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, the Parliament buildings, the Marble Arch, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square. They were cool to see, but definitely not something you have to plan your entire day around. Most of the time we just walked by and snapped a picture so we could say we’d been there!

londonlandmarks

So that wraps up my long, but not exhaustive list of things to do when visiting London as a tourist!

Anything I forgot to include in this list?

23 Comments

Filed under travel

Serendipity Tea House

Downtown Burlington is what a lot of people would call “cute”. It has a little village square that looks like it was yanked right out of the 19th century. It has a cupcake shop decked out in pink. And it’s filled with old English-style pubs. The only thing it was missing is a quaint little tea shop.

And now it has one of those too! Serendipity Tea House opened here in 2012, and I finally got around to visiting it with my mom and sister last week.

They had a good, but not too overwhelming, selection of black, white, oolong, green, and herbal teas. Mom got the English Breakfast tea and Hayley got the Earl Grey, which they both really liked. I went for something a bit different and ordered the Sweet Pumpkin Tea. It was really delicious.

Serendipity Tea House sweet pumpkin spice tea

We decided to order what they call their “Signature Tea”, but because there were three of us, they recommended we order two. Each order came with three tiers of courses: the finger sandwiches, the scones, and the pastries.

I really loved the smoked salmon with clotted cream on pumpernickel and the prosciutto and pesto rounds, but the cucumber and mint sandwich was a bit bland in comparison. The mini quiches were great too!

Serendipity Tea House finger sandwiches

My favourite course was the scones – they had the perfect sweetness and delicate texture.

Serendipity Tea House scones

Unfortunately I couldn’t have the pastries because of potential contamination with nuts, but my sister raved about the key lime tart and the mini chocolate mousse pastry.

Serendipity Tea House pastries

But the best part of the experience was the tea leaf reading with Sandee – we all decided to get it done for the cost of $12 each. I don’t put much weight on pyschic readings, but it was still fun. And it’s never a bad thing to hear I’m going to be successful finding a job after my internship and make a six figure salary. Also if you ever meet a director of a healthcare organization whose name starts with an “M”, give me my email because apparently I’m going to date him! ;)

Serendipity Tea House tea leaf reading

Have you ever gone to a tea house before?

What is your favourite kind of tea?

31 Comments

Filed under Burlington, restaurant

Weekly favourites

Good morning! Did you all remember to put your clocks forward one hour? I was actually grateful to lose an hour because it meant I woke up at 6 am this morning instead of 5 am, which has been my usual wake up time as of late. I felt like I actually slept in for once!

Other than sleeping in (or at least the false illusion of sleeping in), here’s what I’ve been loving this week:

I. Powerhouse Fresh Bowl from Organic Works

This awesome lunch I bought at work had smoked tofu steaks, chickpeas, tomato, avocado, red onion, sprouts, and pumpkin seeds on a bed of basmati brown rice with a spicy tahini sauce. I wish I could get the recipe for that sauce from Chef because it was amazing!

Organic Works Bakery Cafe Power Fresh Bowl

II. The Good Bean roasted chickpeas

At first I thought the idea of eating roasted beans was kind of weird, but after trying these my mind is changed. The flavours are fabulous and I love that they are a healthy way to satisfy my cravings for crunchy snacks. In half a package there are 140-150 calories, 6 g of protein, 6 g of fibre, 8% of your daily value of iron, and only 2 g of fat with 0 g saturated fat.

The Good Bean roasted chickpeas

III. Mexican sweet potato soup

I’ve had this recipe pinned forever and I’m glad I finally got around to making it. As I’ve already said, I just can’t get enough of Mexican food lately! I tweaked the recipe a little by adding an extra 1.5 cups of beans, more sweet potato, and an extra cup of broth.

Mexican sweet potato soup

IV. President’s Choice granola

Whenever President’s Choice releases new products, I’m like a kid on Christmas. I love that they’re such a health conscious brand that stays on top of trends. One of their new products this season is a line of granolas, each with a different nutrient focus such as protein, omega-3’s, fibre, and antioxidants. I bought the protein granola, which contains chocolate and almonds – it’s awesome!

President's Choice protein granola

V. The Tea Haus

Last weekend I met up with my friend for a tea date at The Tea Haus, a locally owned tea house in Covent Garden Market. They have the best selection of loose leaf teas! I tried something new and got Lime Fizz, which I really liked.

The Tea Haus London, Ontario

What are your favourites from the week?

Note: I was not provided with products to review for this post, nor compensation for my opinions. All products were purchased with my own money and all opinions are my own!

17 Comments

Filed under Miscellaneous, product review