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B is for Blenheim & Birthdays

Those of you who follow McClounie & Armstrong on Instagram will have noticed it was my birthday last week! Not only did my lovely boyfriend plan a fantastic night out, with all my nearest and dearest at Home House, he also arranged for a day out at

Blenheim Palace including a delicious afternoon tea in The Orangery Restaurant. I can safely say that I felt truly spoiled.

After a few too many G'n'Ts on Friday evening, I was told by Alex that we needed to be up by 8am to make the most of our day at Blenheim…8am! Are you kidding me!

All I can say is, thank God for coffee and ham and cheese croissants!

Comfy but smart was the order of the day. I’m loving anything with a ruffles at the moment so pulled on my dusty rose pink ruffle necked jumper from Oasis. It seems to go with absolutely everything. I teamed it with some high waisted jeans and the most gorgeous slipper shoes from Boden. They were a cheeky treat to myself last month! It was also the first outing for my new Hicks and Brown clutch bag, which Alex had given me the day before. It was love at first sight. I saw this bag online a month or so ago and just knew I needed it in my life. It’s the perfect size for days when you don’t want to take your full handbag out with you, but still want something pretty and practical.

We arrived nice and early and it wasn’t at all as busy as I had thought it would be. We took a nice slow wander round the house. Neither of us had been before and we were totally blown away by the gorgeous interiors and stunning items on display. As predicted, I fell in love with the most beautiful blue and white vases. If they weren’t so huge I would have hidden one under my jacket and made a run for it!

They run several tours around the house throughout the day, I highly recommend joining one of these. We caught the end of one and I was so impressed by the tour guide. She was the right amount of factual and funny. Making sure everyone got the key facts but was also fab at keeping people on their toes.

We moseyed on through the house, and down to the formal gardens. There simply aren’t enough words to describe how beautiful the gardens are. We were so lucky with the weather on Saturday, it was gorgeously sunny and warm. We spent a few moments soaking up the sun and then took a stroll to the secret gardens. This hidden corner of the garden is just a short stroll across the front lawn and is full of the most deliciously scented plants and flowers. I managed to hunt down the most amazing smelling Magnolia tree.

Time for afternoon tea! Alex had booked one traditional afternoon tea for himself (designated driver...) and one of the Orangery Celebration Tea with bubbles for me! Although we swapped this to another traditional, by this point I was feeling a little delicate from all the birthday celebrations the previous night!

Served from 12:00 – 17:00, I highly recommend booking this afternoon tea treat in advance as it was incredibly busy. What was really nice, is that the tables were well spaced so we didn’t feel like we were sitting right on top of anyone else. The Orangery is the most beautiful setting with gorgeous high ceilings and views looking out on to the ornate Italian gardens.

I’m a lover for all things afternoon tea, when we first moved to London we would go several times a month. It’s such a great excuse to sit down for a few hours, escape from the world and just catch up on the week, whilst at the same time feeling like you’re treating yourself to something a bit special.

All the Afternoon tea deals in The Orangery come with complimentary refills and they have a champagne list to suit any budget. You should all take advantage of this!

We opted for the gunpowder green tea, whenever we go out for tea I like to try something new. The gunpowder tea did not disappoint, strong and smokey it was the perfect cure to the slight hangover I could feel lurking in the background.

When the cake stand arrived we dived straight in. The sandwiches are usually my favourite and they didn’t disappoint, they had clearly been freshly made, something which from my experience, doesn’t always happen. I was a little shocked not to see the traditional two scones each on the middle plate. Instead one scone and one strawberry tart, but oh my goodness this was the perfect combination. I walked away totally inspired to recreate the delicious, crisp, fresh strawberry and cream tart! Watch this space. By the time it got to the yummy cakes on top we were both so content with how the whole day had gone. We slowly nibbled on the pistachio macaroons and chocolate treats whilst contemplating a slow walk back to the car. I must warn you, you will walk away in a food coma!

All in all it was the perfect birthday day out. I highly recommend taking a trip to Blenheim Palace if you’re looking for something to do this bank holiday weekend. The house if still run by the family so every ticket helps with the upkeep of the palace and grounds. I highly recommend upgrading your general admission ticket to the Annual Pass or perhaps a to a privilege pass. The privilege pass gives you 15% off in the restaurants and shop.

Feeling a little older and very spoiled



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