This week, in celebration of National Afternoon Tea Week, I popped over to the Halkin Hotel in Knightsbridge to pick up a takeaway tea from the Michelin star Spanish restaurant, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction.
With Hyde Park so close by Ametsa with Arzak Instruction saw the opportunity to offer guests a take-away tea option, pairing up with Afternoontea.co.uk to package up everything you need to enjoy their luxurious afternoon tea in the park.
We searched for a suitable spot, avoiding the fitness fanatics and the kids chasing virtual Pokemon, to a sheltered grassy area under some amazing tall trees. Inside the boxes were lots of carefully arranged treats, immaculately presented despite being made to-go. One savoury container featured dishes like red pepper and avocado toasted sandwich and Iberico ham wrapped crackers. Without a menu we were left to try and guess the flavour of each bite-sized delicacy. Two orange and yellow test tubes contained what I could only assume was a kind of innovative fishcake.
The sweet treats were my favourite, miniature churros and chocolate dipping sauce, crème brulee cake, and tiny fruit tarts. Along with the array of food the staff had handed me a bag with small bottles of cava and plastic flutes, to add to the indulgence.
It was great fun tasting this imaginative tea whilst enjoying the fresh air and watching the activity that surrounded us. We were very lucky to enjoy some sunshine whilst picnicking in the park… if the British weather was more reliable I could see this Basque takeaway tea being a great success all year round.
More information on the restaurant and all its offerings here.
I spent a whole morning on Ebay carefully monitoring tickets to Madonna’s Hyde Park concert. For some reason I had an overwhelming urge to experience the Queen of Pop’s grand showcase despite seeing her several times before at various events. Her cameo roles in Live Aid and Children in Need were nothing though in comparison to the spectacular production the crowds witnessed on 17th July.
My obsessive Ebay activity paid off as I managed to win two tickets for just £40 each, about half the original selling price. We joined the throng and walked into the park arena, similar to a mini festival with cheap food vendors and merchandise floggers. The gates opened at 4.30 and by 6 the place was full to the brim, thousands of eccentric fans nudging their way to the front. Determined to get a glimpse of Madge we too dodged the hordes and squeezed our way almost to the front. Here we stood for four hours alongside a group of unnecessarily angry middle aged rockers who seemed resolute on ruining our evening by elbow jabbing and foot stamping all night long.
Several support acts enjoyed the epic stage before the Queen of Pop: first the virtually unknown Martin Solveis, then a very rowdy and scantily dressed LMFAO. This neon clad crew pranced about the stage, screaming excitedly to the crowd and stripping off to their boxers, which seemed to excite them, but the Madonna fans were less impressed… they had only come to see her half-naked not a motley crew of boyband wannabees. I wasn’t impressed with this set but enjoyed the final, familiar numbers especially ‘I’m sexy and I know it’ and ‘I’m shuffling’ to which we couldn’t help but dance.
A long and painful wait of 80 minutes and finally Lady Madonna appeared on stage. The show was seamlessly choreographed and polished… and despite the on off drizzle, the energy and passion exuding from the stage was impressive. There is no denying it: Madonna looks unbelievable, especially when her over muscly arms are covered up. I’m convinced most of the vocals were mimed, but when the dancing is this good, singing in tandem is impossible, and for once I didn’t really mind.
In front of us a group of crazy camp fans were hilariously dancing to every number, they knew every single word. Outfit changes were frequent and fabulous: elaborate corsets, flirty mini skirts and beautiful hairdos. I sincerely enjoyed the whole show – with so much activity on stage it was impossible to be bored even during the slow sultry songs. Madonna communicated throughout addressing her UK fans affectionately and encouraging the crowds to join in. Unsurprisingly I enjoyed the famous songs most… VOGUE was exquisite and Like a Virgin was titillating and cool.
We staggered out of Hyde Park with debilitating back pain, but feeling a warm glow of exhilaration from Madonna’s awe inspiring show. Every ache was worth it for a night with the Queen of Pop.