Afternoon tea at Blanchards, Sleaford

Now, if there’s one thing we Brits love, it’s a good pot of tea, some sarnies and a slice of cake or two.  Back in December, my sibling and I promised my Nan that we’d take her out for afternoon tea as part of her Christmas gift, so on Tuesday we made good on our promise and headed to Blanchards Coffee Shop in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.  Better late than never, eh?

I’ve been to Blanchards many times, and I’ve always enjoyed their English breakfasts, jacket potatoes, and especially their homemade mushroom soup.  However, their afternoon tea service takes things to the next level.  The cafe is family run, having been established in 1922, and you can really sense the amount of pride and care that goes into running the business.

We were greeted at our table with a huge teapot, because honestly, you can’t beat a good brew, can you?  After pouring our tea, these two cake stands laden with sandwiches, cakes and scones appeared, and these photos don’t do justice to just how magnificent the spread was.

Blanchards are happy to cater to different diets, so my being vegetarian wasn’t an issue.  I tucked in to my sandwiches filled with cheese and salad, cucumber and cream cheese, and egg mayonnaise.  My meat-eating counterparts also had thick-cut ham sandwiches which looked very impressive.

We then moved onto the scones, which like everything else is hand made on site.  They were delicious, full of raisins, and the strawberry jam and clotted cream is the perfect accompaniment.

Then, on to the selection of cakes.  The selection you get during an afternoon tea varies depending on what they have on offer that day, and in our case we had rocky road slices, a lemon curd/drizzle cake, and meringues with fresh cream and fruit.  I’m not a big fan of lemon so I didn’t try that cake, but my Mum and Nan reassure me that it was delicious.  The rocky road cake was made with very rich dark chocolate, with fruit throughout to stop it from becoming too sickly.  The meringues were absolutely perfect; crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, accompanied by slices of strawberry and blueberry.

The best part about this wonderful afternoon tea?  Blanchards only charges £10 per person for great service and a very generous quantity of food and drink.  If you’re ever in Lincolnshire and find yourself near to the market town of Sleaford, I would highly recommend stopping by – even though Blanchards requires 24 hours notice to prepare an afternoon tea, the wait is definitely worth it.

Where’s your favourite place to have a traditional afternoon tea? Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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Supporting local businesses in Sleaford: Seventh Heaven Beauty Spa

During my little trip into Sleaford town centre the other day – which I wrote about here – I also went into Seventh Heaven Beauty Spa, also located in the Bristol Arcade.

It’s a lovely little shop, and as soon as I walked in I was hit by the scent of a fragrant mix of perfumes and gorgeous bath bombs.  Seventh Heaven is a one-stop shop for gifts – if you were shopping for a lady and didn’t find something they would like in there I’d be very surprised.

They don’t have a website, however their Facebook page is updated fairly often if you want to get in contact with the shop.

I’ve been looking for a new handbag for a long time, as the handle was starting to tear from my current bag.  I needed a high quality bag, but one large enough to carry all of my university-related paraphernalia.  Literally as soon as I walked in the door of Seventh Heaven, I fell in love with this bag by HT Fashion.  I do mean that, by the way – the bright green colour caught my eye through the shop window.

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This bag is such high quality, and I was happy to spend £24.99 on it because it’s real leather, meaning it should last a long time.  And I want it to last as well – it’s such a gorgeous bag, I can see myself using it a heck of a lot in future.

If bright green isn’t the colour for you, there was a huge selection of satchels in similar designs with a wide range of colours and patterns available.

Satchels are a wardrobe essential right about now, and it was really satisfying finding great quality bags right on my doorstep and supporting another independent retailer in Sleaford.  I’ll definitely be visiting Seventh Heaven again soon!

Currently listening to: You Wanna KnowDon Broco

Supporting local businesses in Sleaford: Katezart Designs, Crafts and Gifts

Now, anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time will know how much I love to support independent retailers and clothing brands – they’re such a great way to buy high-quality clothes that you won’t find on the hangers of every department store, as well as individual homeware and other accessories.

Since I returned to the little town of Sleaford for my summer break from uni earlier in the week (hence the silence on this blog – the last couple of weeks have been ridiculously hectic), I figured I should make the most of the independent retailers on my doorstep and go exploring in town.

First of all I went to Katezart Designs, Crafts and Gifts, located in the Bristol Arcade in the centre of town.  The store doesn’t just contain Katezart’s products – there are also a number of other small independent retailers who sell their wares in store on an individually hired shelf-by-shelf basis.

The atmosphere is really lovely, and honestly I could have walked out of there with an empty bank account and half of the stock of the store.  However I settled for purchasing a set of four drinks coasters with an awesome retro comic book design.

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The design is great quality, and they feel like they will last for a long time.  Plus, at only a fiver for four coasters, they were a bit of a bargain too!  Their website is a little bit outdated, so check out their Facebook page for up-to-date photos and information about what’s in stock at the moment.  I especially love their collection of scarves, as well as their clutch bags and purses made out of old reclaimed vinyl.

I find it so satisfying, purchasing from independent retailers and knowing that my money goes directly towards keeping the business alive.  I would always recommend buying locally if at all possible.  If you’re ever in Sleaford or the surrounding areas, I suggest you take a look in Katezart’s store for yourself!

In a few days time I’ll be writing about the other independent shops I visited in little old Sleaford, so keep an eye out for that.  Until then, TTFN!

Currently listening to: Rescue MeYou Me At Six & Chiddy