After my fears of joining the 40's club, that admittedly did start to get the better of me, I actually had a marvelous day in the company of my beautiful daughter, husband and a few close friends. I kicked off the day with a spot of indulgence in the High Street Kensington shops, followed by a walk in the torrential rain to the Orangery at Kensington Palace. Being a self confessed city girl, waterproofs do not feature in my wardrobe, so armed only with a little cream linen jacket and my straw trilby to keep me dry I set off to meet my husband and cousin. Needless to say, I had to take shelter under a tree for a good 30 minutes for fear of ruining my trilby, Matilda however was snug in her bugaboo with rain cover or so I thought, as she decided to keep sticking her head out of the little window, got completely drenched and found it highly amusing!
Finally a break in the storm occurred and I made a run for it. I'd forgotten how utterly beautiful Kensington Gardens is, we managed a peek into the Enchanted Garden (no photos as it had started to pour with rain again) before we entered the rather grand Orangery. Faced with a large number of beautiful looking cakes on a stand in front of main door I knew I wouldn't resist. Oh well, twas my birthday after all.
We had a lovely Enchanted Palace Tea, composed of a small selection of finger sandwiches, a delicious orange pekoe scone, a dainty slice of chocolate ganache and a perfectly formed raspberry shortbread cake in the shape of a heart. The waiter recommended we try the chocolate tea which was divine, glad I did as my husband's filter coffee arrived lukewarm and pretty weak. So if you go, stick to the tea! It's a beautiful room with ornate statues, enormous plants and an orange tree on every table. The husband and I have decided that high tea will remain the tradition for my birthday from now on, last year we tried the Sanderson's Mad Hatters Tea Party, which wasn't terribly mad hatter but the food was far superior to the Orangery.
We opted for The Orangery as it was meant to be child friendly and, with two toddlers in tow we thought we wouldn't attempt anywhere too extravagant with them. Sadly they did get told off for screeching after a couple of guests must have complained. The Manager on duty was not very tactful with us. He barked the order for us to keep the children under control whilst pointing directly at me. Consequently the discretionary 12.5% tip was removed from the bill, and I discreetly handed the waiter who served us the cash as he had been delightful with the children. It was a shame the manager was so unpleasant, as he did rather spoil our experience there and to be honest I won't be returning in too much of a hurry, and neither will I be recommending it to those with children. So please take with a pinch of salt the statement on the website: 'We love to see children at the Orangery'.
Nevertheless, I did have a wonderful birthday and was thoroughly spoilt by family and friends but I have to say that my best present has got to be the most fabulous Raleigh Vintage looking bike that my husband completely surprised me with when we got home that evening. And here it is in all it's precious glory! Flowers I have and the basket is on its way to complete the look as I ride along through the park and along the river path. I love it, thank you husband!
'A Woman has the age she deserves' Coco Chanel