16 May 2019

THE LIFE DIARIES: A Weekend in Port Solent

Port Solent is many things to me. It's where we go for a last minute date night, it's where we go to see the latest film, where we pop for a relaxed lunch in the sun, and generally where my best friend and I go for our annual Christmas Eve lunch. However, not many people realise that amongst all the tasty restaurants and cute shops, there's an afternoon tea gem hiding.

I was very kindly invited to join a local bloggers tea party at Gracie Ann's in Port Solent where they kindly gifted us a full afternoon tea and I have to say it was lovely. Port Solent is a beautiful setting anyway, especially on a sunny day as we had. It's set right by the shore, with a marina in the middle, where restaurants and shops are all based on a boardwalk around the marina. I have spent many an evening and lunch in summer sat on the balcony's enjoying the view and the sun.
I decided it would be a good excuse to write a post around how to spend a weekend in Port Solent.

Friday evening is usually last minute date night, which generally means a little drive down to the boardwalk at Port Solent. There's a load of great restaurants there, majority are chains but there's also some other independent restaurants, like O Sole Mio. We went over to Zizzi as they had a Spring set menu for £15.99, for 3 courses. And because it was a gorgeous evening, I of course ordered a cheeky seasonal cocktail from their menu.
Saturday afternoon usually means we're heading to the cinema. We used to have a Limitless card from Odeon, however the Port Solent branch have reduced their prices to £5 each, so it wasn't worth it anymore. However, we still head down quite regularly and we love it. We popped down to see Detective Pikachu - and there was a giant Pikachu out the front - and of course I ordered my usual large Ice Blast (blue only) for the experience.
Sunday was the day of the blogger tea party at Gracie Ann's.

Gracie Ann's is an incredibly cute café hiding in the Trading Post, right next to Harvester, and is definitely one to visit for a lunch with girlfriends or afternoon tea. I've been for both before this event and all is good, and the quantity is definitely generous. The setting is very cute, and very Cath Kidston style - surrounding by little boutique shops where you can buy arts and crafts, bags or get your hair done. It's not huge, but it's cosy and welcoming.
In terms of the afternoon tea itself - I was impressed. First of all, sometimes when you go to afternoon tea there's usually a spat about who gets what sandwiches and who gets what cakes - because they haven't provided one type per person. Well, there were no spats here as they provided one of every for each person which is ideal. It allows you to try lots of things, and experience everything they offer. You start from the bottom and work your way up. The finger sandwiches were nice, nothing out of the ordinary - just very traditional, cucumber and cheese, egg mayo, tuna mayo etc. With a mix of bread types on each one. Then onto the scones - these were incredible. First of all there were very generous in terms of quantity - huuuuuge. But they were warm, filled with fruit and really scrummy. Better than other places I've tried that charge you a lot more for the same thing. I'm a cream then jam kinda gal -not going to lie. Mainly for two reasons:
1. I never used to like jam so got used to putting cream on first and only
2. I don't want to get jam in the cream pot

Overall - scones were probably my favourite part. Having said that, the cakes were something special. A little bit of a twist on the ordinary, we have carrot and walnut cake, chocolate brownie, red berry and yoghurt flapjack and a salted caramel muffin. Now I'm not usually a huge salted caramel person by oh.my.god. So so good. Also, the size of these is actually perfect after the previous "courses", mini and just enough to get a taste and enjoy the flavours. It was so good, my Mum got me to book her, my grandma and aunt in for the following Tuesday!
As I said - I'm a huge fan of Port Solent anyway and od spend a lot of time there. I realised the other day that I think I've managed to eat in almost every restaurant down there. I think that's a pretty good achievement! But it was really nice to have a good quality afternoon tea, in a cute and beautiful setting. I would highly recommend.
I had a great weekend, and I was so pleased to meet other bloggers in the area who were so incredibly lovely and welcoming.
*Full disclosure: the afternoon tea was gifted by Port Solent in exchange for cover on social channels.

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