DIY: 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar

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Today I have something a little different for you all here on Ramblings of a Devoted Tea Drinker...a DIY! Given December is just around the corner I thought I'd share with you all how to make your very own Advent Calendar. I am posting this now so it will give you some time to make and fill the calender's before the 12 day Christmas countdown starts. I opted to make a 12 day advent calendar instead of a 24 day one, as you can put a special gift in each envelope without breaking the bank.

The empty advent calender's that you can purchase in shops are quite pricey at over £10 and also the pockets are really small so it would be difficult to find things that would fit. To make this advent calendar it only cost me around £6 to get all the supplies and the envelopes are a lot bigger meaning you can fit a decent size gift in them.

What you will need: 
A4 size cork board (Poundland), Christmas stickers (Poundland), 12 98 x 68mm brown envelopes (WHSmih), String and Pegs set (Poundland), Scissors, Sharpie and Cellotape. 

What to do:

Step One: Tie the string all the way around about 2cm from the top of the cork board and cut of the excess string. Then, on the back of the cork board tape the string to the board, in order to make it more secure. 
Step Two: Tie and tape the string again about 8cm below the first string. 
Step Three: In order to make the string more secure for the envelopes put two drawing pins in the centre of each string as shown in the picture. 
Step Four: Now time for the fun part...decorating! Decorate 12 envelopes how ever you want, I chose to use gold star, snowmen and penguin stickers. Make sure you remember to put the number on the envelope!
Step Five: Now fill up the envelopes and put them on the string using the pegs. If you are stuck on what to put in the advent calender's here some good ideas: chocolates, hot chocolate sachets, earrings, necklaces, eye shadow, sample skincare products (Feel Unique pic 'n' mix samples are good), sample mascaras and lipsticks. 
I think this is a really good idea to make for a loved one and you can tailor everyday to suit them! Send me a picture of twitter (@nishah_97) if you end up making this cute advent calendar! :) 

See you next time for more of my ramblings! 
xx  
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Afternoon Tea at White Rabbit Teahouse, Nottingham

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Afternoon Tea is by far my favourite pastime and there are only two things that stop me indulging in this past time more often. First is the effect on my waist line and the second the effect on my purse strings. Afternoon Tea can be an expensive business, with some hotel's charging over £50 per person! This is why it is often a struggle to get my student friends who are less passionate for afternoon tea to come along. The other day when I was shopping in Nottingham City Centre with a friend we spotted a couple of signs saying Afternoon Tea for £15. This got us talking and we both agreed this is a more reasonable price for Afternoon Tea. This conversation gave me the idea for a new series here on 'Ramblings of a Devoted Tea Drinker' reviewing the best local Afternoon Teas priced at £15 and under.

So today I am kicking it off with a review of Afternoon Tea at The White Rabbit Teahouse located on Bridlesmith Walk in Nottingham. I have been eyeing up White Rabbit Teahouse for a while now but always thought it would be on the expensive side, that was until I looked on the website and discovered it was only £15 per person, making it the perfect candidate for my first post of the series. I also discovered on the website that they have two teahouses in Nottingham, with the other located on Hounds Gate. 

White Rabbit Teahouse is a very traditional looking tea house with a shabby chic vibe to it, while it is incredibly small it has a very cosy feel. 
The theme of rabbits even exceeded to the wallpaper! Their attention to detail really makes the whole afternoon tea experience 10 times better!  

The drawer on our table was stuffed full with napkins with notes from previous customers. I thought this was a lovely touch and the sort of thing you'd usually see in a film. It defiantly added to the intimate and 'special' vibe of the place. The only down side to this cosy intimate environment is that it can make private conversation's difficult.
The Afternoon Tea menu had a selection of 8 teas to choose from (I opted for the English breakfast tea...I know I am very boring!) There were 7 sandwich options which were Salmon, Cream Cheese & Rocket, Honey Roast Ham, Cream Cheese & Cucumber, Tuna Mayonnaise, Free Range Egg & Cress and Prawn Mayonnaise. We were told we could pick two sandwich options from the list which was a shame as I was actually rather hungry! We opted for Salmon and Cream Cheese & Cucumber. 

The scones consisted of one raisin scone each.The sweet treats included a rabbit shaped (of course) shortbread with jam , a small cup of sticky toffee pudding and a cupcake. All the sweet treats were delicious but if I had to pick one I would say the cupcake was by far my favourite! The scones on the other hand were a little on the hard side, I would of preferred the option of a plain scone and maybe more sandwich options. 

 Even the leaves in the cream and jam were placed to replicate a rabbits ears!
Overall, it was a pleasant Afternoon Tea for the price and I would recommend a visit to White Rabbit Teahouse, even if it is only for a cup of coffee and a chat with a friend. 

I will be doing another £15 and under afternoon tea review in a few weeks. So if any of you out there can recommend any bargain afternoon teas in the Nottingham area I'd love to know! 

See you next time for more of my ramblings! 
xx
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Ramblings of a Devoted Tea Drinker Turns 2

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2 years, 730 days and 13 afternoon tea's later I'm still here! Last week my little corner on the internet celebrated it's 2nd Birthday (oh no terrible two's) I still can't believe I've been blogging for two whole years!! 

So what has happened in the last year?

Blogging over the last two years has given me far more confidence to do things I'd never thought I would/could. Last December I attended my first ever blogging meetup in Lincoln and last Saturday I attended the #NottsAlzheimersMeetup (there will be a post up shortly). However, two years ago just the sheer prospect of attending a meet up would have scared me half to death. At both meet ups I met some lovely fellow East Midland Bloggers - I never realised how many bloggers there are in Nottingham! I cannot wait to attend more meetup's in the future and meet more bloggers.  Also, in the last year I did my first promoted post for a business, which was very exciting! 

Last year in my birthday blog post I set some blogging goals I wanted to achieve in the year. It's been a tough year for me in terms of sixth form etc and although I haven't succeeded my first blogging goal of posting more frequently, blogging is possibly the only thing that has kept me sane throughout the stressful times of A levels! The second goal was to refresh the look of Ramblings of a Devoted Tea Drinker, as I had given up trying to design merely acceptable blog banners on Microsoft Word. So, last November I purchased a blog template from Pipdig and now it looks a lot more presentable. 

Going into my third year of blogging I really want to start having a set routine for my blog posts, so I have decided to upload every Friday from now on. Also, I hope to purchase a camera in order for my blog photos to come out better. As currently I am using my IPhone 6 to take blog photos, don't get me wrong the pictures come out really well but my phone is currently overflowing with 16gb worth of photos and videos of my niece!! :) 

I just want to say a big thank you to anyone who has ever read or commented on my blog, it means the world to me! I have alot of ideas for posts I have been dying to do, which I'm looking forward to sharing with all of you in the next year! 

See you next time for more of my ramblings! 

xx
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Classic Afternoon Tea Cruise, Bateaux London

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Today marks a very special day for Ramblings of a Devoted Tea Drinker; today I had my last A’level exam, yippee! So now I can finally dedicate more of my time to eating, preparing and writing about afternoon tea J To mark the occasion I thought I would share a very special afternoon tea with you. A few weeks ago (before I entered the revision cave) I took a trip to London to try the classic afternoon tea cruise on the River Thames on board the Harmony Vessel.
The cruise is operated by Bateaux London, who offer various different types of dining cruise experiences along the River Thames. The classic afternoon tea cruise that we selected costs £32 per person. The experience lasts for about 1 hour 15 minutes and allows you to soak up some of the famous sights in London such as the Big Ben and the London Eye. We even got to see the ITV This Morning Studio J All whilst enjoying a delicious afternoon tea spread!




The experience on board the Harmony was really enjoyable; there was a live pianist on board and the staff, were all very attentive and helpful and in my opinion provided a truly 5-star service. I have to say that there is just something very leisurely and luxurious about dining while sailing down a river J




The afternoon tea menu included a selection of fresh sandwiches, on white and brown bread. They were really tasty and we managed to polish them off pretty quickly between us!  So I was pleased when the waiter came over to offer us refills and to my delight not only did he come back with 1 or 2 extra sandwiches, but refilled the entire plate for us!
On the next tier were of course the scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam – the heart of any afternoon tea. There were two fruit scones- no refills or plain scones were offered, but to be honest they were pretty big and filling so I don’t think I could have eaten another one anyway.
The sweet selection included a Fruit meringue tart, a coffee flavoured Macaroon, a Lemon drizzle cake, a Jam filled Beignet and a chocolate éclair. The portion sizes were very generous and it was a struggle to finish the plate but I persevered J All the cakes and pastries were delicious but if I had to pick one I would say the fruit meringue tart was my favourite.
Finally, the tea selection consisted of Darjeeling, Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Assam teas. I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t a wider selection of herbal and fruit teas to choose from…
Overall though, this was a lovely afternoon tea experience – great ambience and service combined with tasty food and a wonderful view. 
See you next time for more of my ramblings!
xx
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Cornish Cream Tea Hamper | Simply Cornish Hampers Review

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Today I have a review of a Afternoon Tea Hamper from Simply Cornish Hampers. For a while I have wanted to try out an afternoon tea hamper, as I really liked the concept of a fresh Afternoon Tea delivered straight to your door. I was just awaiting a suitable occasion for an excuse!  

...and what a better excuse than mothers day! 

I originally had my eye on the Delimann hampers, but unfortunately they don't deliver on a weekend. I will have to try that another time :) So, after doing a quick google search I discovered Simply Cornish Hampers 

Simply Cornish Hampers have been open since 2005, they sell hampers as gifts for a special occasion or a special someone. All their ingredients are sourced locally in Cornwall from a range of food and wine suppliers. Their range includes gluten free hampers, alcohol hampers, cream tea hampers and chocolate hampers. I'm sure most people will be able to find something that takes their fancy! I chose the  'Family Cornish Cream Tea Hamper' option, 

Delivery costs a whooping  £7.55 for weekdays or £8.65 for weekend delivery. 
The hamper was priced at £35.95 and was delivered in a cardboard box. You can upgrade to a black gift box for £47.45 or if you pay £58.90 they will send it in wicker basket! However, the cardboard packaging alone was fine, I loved how everything was laid out and they all fit snugly in the box!
The hamper included 8 Butter Scones, a bottle of Healey's Pressed Apple Juice, Clotted Cream, Shortbread, Sisley's Strawberry Jam, Clotted Cream Fudge, Spiced Crunch Original Fairings, 4 Rodda's Clotted Cream and Furniss Gingerbread. Its a shame that the hamper doesn't include any tea!

Since we were having a bit off a mothers day family gathering we decided to set it up as a tea party...
For my mum instead of putting out a tea cup we decided to place the Grandma mug that my niece got her. 
The food was all really yummy and had a lovely home made feel to it. The scones tasted very fresh and I especially loved the addition of the fudge  and apple juice. 




I can't recommend this hamper enough, it's a great alternative to a hotel afternoon tea. With every order you get a free personlised gift card to send to your loved ones, yet our hamper included the wrong card. It said 'Happy Birthday' instead of the 'Happy Mothers Day' message which left my mum a bit perplexed to begin with! But since the food was soo lovely I'll have to let them off for the mistake!

Have you tried an afternoon tea hamper? Any recommendations for next time?

See you next time for more of my ramblings! 
xx
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