A quintessentially British and dog-friendly afternoon tea

It doesn’t take much convincing to go out and enjoy afternoon tea at the Egerton House, a luxury hotel with history that dates back to 1627. So when my lovely pal Emma of the brilliant Adventures of a London Kiwi  blog suggested we meet to experience high tea in their elegant and dog-friendly Drawing Room, I marked the date in my diary and organised the appropriate attire for Olly: a blue bow tie courtesy of Matt’s closet. It wasn’t long before the day arrived and so with the pitter patter of some very posh paws, we made our way over to London’s stylish Knightsbridge district to experience what it is like to have afternoon tea accompanied by your furry friend.

IMG_1443

Like most places Olly ventures out to, he walked up to the five star establishment with a worrying familiarity; I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about what trouble he might find at the Egerton House. Would they discontinue their dog-friendly afternoon tea because of a badly behaved Border Collie? Would Olly startle the staff that surely were only used to hosting the most refined and well mannered of English dogs? Needless to say I was very wrong.

IMG_1358

Sunlight pours into the Drawing Room where Victorian portraits adorn the walls and beautiful decor like the antique clocks match well with the original elements of the townhouse hotel. We met Emma as well as the darling Annie from MontgomeryFest blog and were greeted by staff with a welcome glass of Champagne. We opted for the traditional afternoon tea, a selection of traditional British finger sandwiches and pastries with freshly baked scones and clotted cream. Their selection of sweets did not disappoint; I enjoyed the blackberry macaroons and toffee caramel cupcake!

IMG_1359

After accepting some free pets and initiating some flirtation with the lovely staff, Olly opted for the doggy afternoon tea menu which included three tiers of deliciousness: an assortment of chicken and beef meatloaf, peanut butter biscuits and ice cream. He was also gifted with a special chew toy to take home!

IMG_1465

IMG_1376.JPG

IMG_1381

I’m not quite sure how the Egerton House manages to balance a refined elegance with its relaxed atmosphere but they do it so well. I’m completely smitten over the hotel and all of their charming staff that look after both their human and animal guests so well. We will be back soon!

IMG_1473

IMG_1437.JPG

 

Life on the road: Driving the Emerald Isle

The promise of spring has put a pep in my step and a recent road trip through southwest Ireland has me inspired to start planning out more stories for Olly and the Bee. But first, I hope you enjoy this witty little post written by the Bee who was equally inspired after returning home from our little adventures abroad with Olly.

IMG_3954

Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way. Cliffs, seafood, Guinness and toasties.

Our first stop was a small pub called Connolly’s in Kinvara. Christina and I strolled in with Olly, as usual we were in the bar before asking if dogs were allowed. We later learnt that’s not how it is done in Ireland.

It wasn’t long before we got chatting to a very nice Irish chap who took an uncomfortably long, awkward pause before returning conversation. It’s true, alcohol slows reaction time. Nonetheless he, like everyone else we met, was very friendly and welcoming. Also like many other locals we met, he had connections with the U.S. and owns a border collie. I’ve never seen so many border collie’s in my life. Luckily Olly is part border collie, so between his genes, my ginger beard and Christina’s US-ness, we fitted in pretty well. That is, apart from our GB number plate, so I made an effort not to over take anyone or draw any attention to my London driving skills.

I had my two pints of Guinness and we called it a night.

Thanks to our first Airbnb host Linda, we started off day 2 with a hot tip for hot chocolate. Within the impressive landscape of The Burren, we found Hazel Mountain Chocolate. It was wonderful. I’m a 31 year old man and I like hot chocolate surrounded by shabby chic furniture, I’m man enough to admit it.

IMG_0814

The following few days were shaped by the spectacular south west coastline; the Cliffs of Moher (€6 per person), Rossbeigh beach (free) Bray Head (free), Mizen Head (€7.50 per person)

What was most spectacular about this coastline, was how easy it was to fall off the edge if you wanted to. International students, young families, old families, all jumped the wall to stand on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher. There was a guy playing the flute, possibly subconsciously luring tourists towards the edge. The only thing standing between them and a long fall into the Atlantic Ocean was a sign suggesting they keep to the path. Christina, Olly and I very briefly swayed from the path, before retreating to safety.

IMG_3720

IMG_0322

We almost walked through the gale force winds to the end of Mizen Head, until I remembered the lady who sold us the tickets said don’t go that far. It made me wonder, have there been fatal accidents? Was this why they called it the Wild Atlantic Way? Christina and I like our lives, so we held hands and sped walked back over the bridge.

IMG_4240

IMG_0824

At times it was blustery, at other times sunny, we saw beautiful rainbows, but no tiny ginger guys with pipes and gold.

These conditions actually worked in our favour throughout the trip, most of all when our ferry got cancelled.  Alas, what can you do with an extra night in Dublin? Obviously find a good pub and drink as much Guinness as possible.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The next morning we checked in to the ferry port with 5 minutes to spare. One final thing to note, parks in central Dublin seem to be locked in the morning, who knows when they open.

The real treasure of the trip was getting in some much needed family time in this fast paced world. I reluctantly head back to 10 hour work days and 6 hour sleeps until the next adventure.

IMG_4271

IMG_0501