Girl about Town: Chocolate walking tour of London

Easter weekend is on the way. I am excited for three reasons:

1) Two free days off work! Oh how I need the sleep.

2) Family time! In my house, Easter is like Christmas we gather, we play games, we (even in adulthood) hunt out eggs and we dine en masse.

3) Gluttony! If you’ve been abstaining from treats and indulgences for Lent, Sunday is the day it all comes to an end (just to clarify, I have abstained from nothing this year, I’ve been a glutton throughout Lent. My bad).

In light of this list, Rebecca thought I should tell you about something that combined all three, in particular a chocolate walking tour of London, that I did with my family over a chilled weekend the end of last summer. I booked it through Great British Tours with a 50% voucher from one of those well known discount sites (either the pink or the green, I don’t recall) which made it very reasonable indeed. During the tour we visited some of my favourite chocolateries (where we had tastings and were entitled to a discount on most purchases), wandered through Soho at a leisurely pace soaking up the atmosphere and we found a couple of hidden gems that I’ll definitely be re-visiting.

The meeting point was the Algerian Coffee Store on Old Compton Street where our guide greeted us with a large cup of chocolate coated coffee beans and a gigantic grin – imagine if your job was to wander the streets of London eating free chocolate? I’d grin a lot too!

First stop was Hotel Chocolat where we bought chilli hot chocolate powder and tested out their new line of chocolate themed toiletries…

…then on to Paul A. Young where the team introduced us to unusual recipes such as limoncello and cucumber, pink guava and lychee, goats cheese, rosemary and lemon and Marmite truffles and where we also sampled their delicious Aztec hot chocolate…

… a quick pit stop at Freggo to refresh the palate with some Malbec and berries sorbet (new fave thing ever!)…

…a browse around the sweet counter (and a quick dash to the loo) at Fortnum and Mason…

… a brief history lesson about the birth of the truffle at Prestat and sampled some boozy treats…

…all ending up at Charbonnel et Walker where I stuffed my face with my favourite violet and rose crèmes (apparently also the Queen’s!).

All in all a fun filled day!

Great British Tours do some other interesting walking tours including a cupcake and macaroon tour which I have my eye on for my next free weekend…

Victoria x

PS! Find Victoria over on her blog Sugar Plum Slipper or on twitter @VictoriaHale.

#JanuaryJoy – Plan a Date

Christmas for me is just about the most romantic time of year. Pete and I got engaged in December and I love spending time preparing for Christmas together. When the 23rd of December rolled around it dawned on me that I wasn’t feeling the romance at all. One of Pete and my worst failings as a couple is not making time for our own relationship. Throughout December we had hardly spent any time together, partly due to no fault of our own (Pete had had 2 nasty viruses wiping out 2 whole weekends and I had had one,) and partly because, as is usual for the time of year, when we had spent time together it had been at parties and other social occasions as part of a group.

Image Credit

Things were so bad that we didn’t get to go shopping together, or to even discuss what we had bought, resulting in us buying multiple presents for the same people on our Christmas lists.

It’s not the first time this has happened of course, everybody has busy times and when it happens to us I know what we need is some time together. I hope lots of you spent tons of time with the one you love over the festive period, but if it actually was a lot of time spent with family, friends and not much planning your hopes and dreams for 2013 with your loved one, now’s your time.

So with that in mind, today’s January Joy is to Plan a Date. Maybe like me your favourite kind of time spent together involves making time to talk. For me there’s nothing better than a relaxed meal to linger over, sharing our thoughts, dreams and worries, making plans together. At this time of year we often sit in bed at the weekend and make lists of holidays we want to take, things we want to do and ways to improve our life together. Maybe you want to shake things up a bit, try something different. Surprise dates are always fun – I once took Pete to a life drawing class as a surprise date – or maybe something ultra romantic. I’m going to plan something for next Tuesday – we both have a day off and I’m going to try and reclaim some of that pre-Christmas romance. I can’t tell you here in case he’s reading though!

As I’m guessing most of your other halves don’t read FF, share your ideas here (I may shamelessly steal some,) or if you’ve ever organised a really random date tell us all about it!


PS How much fun does it look to build a grown up wendy house for your date – complete with fairy lights?! More low cost/high reward dates

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