Brunch Review: Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel

Five girlfriends and I visited the Sanderson Hotel on Saturday 18th February for a 25th birthday celebration.


The Alice in Wonderland theme is fantastic and very well executed, although it could maybe be a tad more experimental considering the crazy antics that occur in the book and Disney movie.

The food was AMAZING. I was ‘Hank Marvin’ after skipping breakfast in my rush to get to the train station in time and the sandwiches and scones really hit the spot. 

The tea selection was great, I had the ‘Mad Hatter’ which was a green tea that tasted of mango and pomegranate, very light and refreshing. We also sampled the ‘Cheshire Cat’ with its chocolate and orange notes which was lovely.

I was well catered for as a vegetarian. I got given a different selection of savoury snacks to the rest of the girls and they were all yummy and extremely moreish. 

The one thing that really let the Sanderson down was the service, and it wasn’t any of the waiting staffs fault. The staff who served us were lovely, polite and friendly but there simply was not enough of them! We waited 10 minutes after being sat for anyone to come to us for drinks, our sandwiches then arrived before we even got our drinks, the teas we ordered never came so we had to ask for them again and even then they were brought over without milk and we had to wait another 10 minutes to catch a member of staff. 

You could see how busy they were, it wasn’t like they were stood around talking or ignoring us on purpose, they were running around like headless chickens trying to ensure every guest had a good experience.

Either we were unlucky and on this particular day they had a few people pull sickies on them and couldn’t get cover, or the Sanderson do not rota enough staff in order to maximise profits, and I really hope it is not the latter!

At £56 a head plus £12 a cocktail, my party of girls agreed that is was not really worth the money, purely based on service. They also charge a 15% service charge which is slightly above the average in London. I am a generous tipper having worked as a waitress myself for over 6 years but when you are paying these prices you just expect a bit more.

I just want to emphasise again that the staff who were there were great. The food was delicious, as were the cocktails, so kudos to the chefs and bartenders, and the waiting staff really were working their hardest. 

The garden area outside was lovely as was the inside of the hotel. You really don’t expect to walk into such a beautiful interior when you arrive as the outside does not look like much.

There was a good amount of jam and cream provided for the scones, something that may seem ridiculous (I’m laughing as I write this) but the scone-jam-cream ratio is crucial to me and can really make or break an afternoon tea! 

The sugar cubes being in a music box and the menu being inside a vintage book were both lovely touches, as where the vials of tea that came so you could make an informed decision based not only on a written description of the tea, but also the smell and look of the tea leaves.

Of course I was in the company of some of the greatest people on Earth (biased, but I love my besties) so the afternoon was always going to be wonderful!

I give our experience of The Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel a 3/5. The theme, atmosphere, food and drinks were great, and it’s good as a novelty outing for a special occasion. However it missed the mark on service due to, in my opinion, being understaffed and we all agreed it wasn’t very good value for money. We wouldn’t pay that amount to dine here again based on our experience.

Let me know what your experiences were at the Sanderson if you’ve been, or if you have any recommendations of where I should go next or somewhere you’ve really been wanting to try that you want me to test out!

– neonwanderlust xo

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Product Review: Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Nose Pore Strips With Activated Charcoal

Okay, so these bad boys are awesomely gross and satisfying and just 100% my guilty pleasure! I’ve always been a fan of the nose and facial strips but have wanted to try the charcoal ones for a while as apparently they draw out way more gunk and nastiness.

These come with 2-steps, which I’ve never seen before. The first strip you put on a clean wet nose and leave for about 15 minutes or until rock hard. They you rip it off and get to admire all the crap that just came out of your face!

Then you rinse off any leftover residue, dry your nose and put on the second strip, which is saturated and has an immediate cooling and tightening effect to close your pores but also moisturise.

Pretty impressive for the price. Needs to be used regularly for maximum impact I would say.

£5.99 from Boots 

4/5 stars

Any recommendations or products you want me to try let me know! 😘

– neonwanderlust xo

Bullet Journal: February Monthly Spread + Weeklies 

February is here already! (What!? How!?) 

A new month for me means a fresh start, new goals, new priorities for work and university, and most excitingly, a new layout for my journal!

February 14th is St. Valentine’s Day, and whilst me and The Beard are not big celebrators and tend to work this day, I thought it was the perfect excuse for a pink and red heart theme! 💕

Let me know what you think, send me pictures of your February layouts, and as always, ask any questions you like!

– neonwanderlust xo

Top 5 hot water bottles

Cold winter nights? Hot water bottle will fix that.

Period cramps? Putting a hot water bottle on your lower back or abdomen is the way forward.

Migraine? Hot water bottle on your feet draws the blood away from your head.

Your partner is away for the night? Spoon your hot water bottle.

Don’t have a partner? Spoon your hot water bottle.

Feeling sad? Mad? Bad? Hot water bottle.

You may have guessed by now that I ADORE my hot water bottle. I buy a new one roughly about once a year and that time of the year has come around again so I though my I would share my current shortlist with you all 💕

1. Heart Stripe Hot Water Bottle – £18 from John Lewis

2. Unicorn Hot Water Bottle – £10 from Paperchase

3. Aroma Hone Fragranced Hot Water Bottle – £14.96 from heat-treats.co.uk

4. Cream Faux Fur Hot Water Bottle – £9.99 from Argos

5. Floral Spot Knitted Hot Water Bottle – £28 from Cath Kidston


– NeonWanderlust xo

Rovinj, Croatia

We stayed at Island Hotel Katerina, which really was on its own island! We had to catch a little (free for hotel guests) boat from the mainland to get to it. The boats run frequently between 6am and midnight so it wasn’t hard to go between whenever you wanted.

The sea was incredibly calm, clean and clear for our stay. You could look down and see little fish swimming about and we went for a swim ourselves most afternoons after lunch.

There are so many little restaurants, cafes and bar that look straight out to sea over on the mainland. We were spoilt for choice, but walking through the cobbled streets and finding new places and those ‘insta-perfect’ spots was half the fun! 

Our hotel room looked over the ocean to Old Town Rovinj and the view was spectacular. The staff were all incredibly friendly and helpful and on our first nights stay we returned to a complementary bottle of bubbly in the room! Not bad for our ‘budget’ holiday!

The second day was overcast with a light shower in the afternoon but Rovinj was still absolutely beautiful and warm enough to wear shorts. We took the boat to the mainland and explored Old Town Rovinj.

We spent the days sunbathing or exploring and in the evenings prettied ourselves up for dinner and cocktails. One night the hotel ran a salsa class, and another there was live acoustic music, so you didn’t even have to leave the island of you didn’t want to.

Photos will never do the sunsets we saw justice. Absolutely incredible. Reflecting off the sea and so many colours that my iPhone camera fails to capture.

The hotel was half board and so included buffet breakfast and dinner. The dinner menu was a little limited for vegetarians but there was always something I could get from the buffet and breakfast was AMAZING. Seriously, try the banana bread.


Sometimes there really is nothing better than a girls holiday. 7 days of gossip, giggles, cocktails, reading our chick lit and sunbathing.

We went in the middle of June and so were suprised with how quiet the hotel was. The first half of the week the pool area was pretty much all ours (well it felt that way as there are three pools so people can really spread out). The second half of the week we did get some families arrive and so there were children in and out of the pool but that didn’t really bother us and we just moved to a slightly different spot away from the shallower ‘kiddy’ pool.

Below is the view from the little pier on our last morning as we stood and waited for the boat so we could get back to the airport. So peaceful at that time of day. 


The views from anywhere on our little island were gorgeous at all times of the day. We were sad to leave. We happily could have stayed an extra few days. I think 10 days is perfect, especially if you do a day trip to Venice like we did (but I’ll save that for another post!)


I would highly recommend Rovinj to anyone. It’s more of an undiscovered spot than Split or Hvar and wasn’t swarming with tourists.

Send me your pictures if you go!

xo

Whittlebury Hall

If you’re looking for the ultimate girly mini break then Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa is where you need to book. Me and my friend Louise stayed this past Saturday night and it was AMAZING.

You drop off your bags at the hotel reception and then head straight to check in at the spa, where you will spend the next 9 hours in a fluffy white towelling robe over your swimsuit/bikini.

We booked in for an hour long wellbeing massage, a luxury pedicure and the rasul mud treatment. 

The massage was amazing, we were so relaxed that after we headed to the spas relaxation room for a nap.

The pedicure was great too, you get a full leg scrub and massage, cuticle care, nail shaping and great choice of polish colours that are guaranteed to last at least 2 weeks. 

The rasul mud treatment is great as you get exclusive use of the whole room for the 45 minute treatment. You apply the diferent muds to your body and face and then relax in blue tiled seats for 20 minutes until it begins to ‘rain’ from the ceiling. You use the provided salt scrub to remove all the mud and then use the lotion provided to moisturise before lying down on warm benches between towels to let all the goodness absorb into your skin. Not only did we feel incredibly clean and soft afterwards but it was also lots of fun! There was only 2 of us but you can book for up to 4 people and it is such a giggle, perfect for small hen do’s or a girlfriends birthday weekend.

You get a buffet lunch on the day of arrival that was delicious. You all go into the dining rooms in your robes so there is a really relaxed vibe and you don’t at any point lose the chilled out effect of the spa. We both had the soup and moussaka and then Louise had salmon and vegetables and I had salad and new potatoes. We didn’t take pictures because honestly we were so relaxed and having such a good time we didn’t think about it!

After our pedicures we headed up to our room where our luggage was waiting for us and got ready for dinner. 

It’s nice to be able to get dressed up for dinner and cocktails – we took a few obligatory selfies before heading down to Astons restaurant.

We started with a glass of white wine for Lou and the Coney Island cooler cocktail for me. Later on we ordered non alcoholic pina coladas which were made with real coconut cream and so delicious! For dinner  Louise ordered the scallops and lamb shank whilst I had gruyere brulee with asparagus and beetroot risotto with goats cheese. We both had sticky toffee pudding for dessert. They had good vegetarian options for me and the portion sizes were perfect. We both went back to our room feeling super full and after a hard days relaxation we were both fast asleep by 11pm!


We had ordered breakfast to our room the next morning, it is a £5pp surcharge to have it brought up and in my opinion 100% worth it! Such a delicious spread that you get to eat from the comfort of your bed – the perfect way to start a Sunday!

After breakfast and check out from the hotel we headed back to the spa. Fresh robes and towels on, we spent a couple of hours lazing by the pool reading magazines, popping in and out of the sauna and pool, which is complete with jacuzzi jets at one end.

We then decided to do a few final circuits of the heat and ice experience. Steam rooms and saunas of different heats and humidities, followed by cold compresses, handfuls of ice rubbed into the skin or (for the very brave) ice cold plunge showers! Combined with the hydrotherapy pools and plenty of fruit infused drinking water this experience is equal parts relaxing and invigorating.

We were going to order an afternoon tea before leaving but with our holiday only 8 weeks away and the copious amounts of food we had already consumed we opted for smoothies instead. These were both delicious and surprisingly filling.


We were sad to leave but will be returning later in the year!

xo

#HeForShe

IMG_4073.JPGI absolutely loved Emma Watson’s recent speech at the UN for the launch of the new #HeForShe campaign, raising awareness for the issue of gender inequality.

I think it’s a genius move to get men involved and start fighting the stereotype that has come to surround people who support feminism and call themselves feminists.

Any males reading this can go to www.heforshe.org and sign the petition to show your support for you mothers, girlfriends, sisters, wives, daughters, and women in general.

Emma was right when she said gender inequality is a issue for men aswell as women, stereotypes go both ways and you can’t fix one without fixing the other.

“Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are. When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t need to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”

Thank you Emma for being the voice and face of a campaign that I believe to be powerful enough to have a real and lasting positive effect on women’s rights issues and gender inequality in general.

If you haven’t seen her speech yet, go google or YouTube it. Well worth a watch! It should be shown in school assemblies around the world to really get the message across to her young fans who maybe haven’t had the opportunity to see the video themselves.

Finally a campaign I think we can all get behind!

Come on guys, support feminism, speak up and be a feminist 🙂

“If not me, who?
If not now, when?”

xo