Wednesday, 8 June 2011

How To Win Back Your Ex With Tea & Cake

By Christian Rose-Day.

On a list of the Top 1,000,000 Things To Do Before You Die, attempting to ‘reignite the cold embers of lost love’ falls somewhere between ‘molten lava diving’ and ‘snogging your Dad’, and the failed efforts often lead to a constant upside-down smiley face and an unfaltering addiction to oversized chocolate bars. It can, however, also develop a healthy amount of questioning; of oneself and one’s actions.

Did I do the right thing?
Should we really have broken up?
Am I any good in the sack?

Eventually a ‘second chance’ might, just might, occur; a window of opportunity in which to test the waters of amour once again. And if you’re (un?)lucky enough to be blessed with the second coming, and as long as you haven’t been caught sleeping with your ex’s siblings by the super injuction-dodging media, you should be able to coerce your former loved one into at least one semi-pleasant afternoon of mild misery; just to see.

To do this you will need the following tools:
- 1x hot ex (such as the one pictured above)
- 1x gorgeously sunny day
- 1x romantic walk along the River Thames
- 1x afternoon tea (to share)

Make sure to vaguely agree to meet up at some place or other on some sort of day. This hazy attempt at planning will undoubtedly start the afternoon off on a bad foot because you’ll automatically begin blaming each other for being tardy and in the wrong place. This works in your favour in the long run as the afternoon will get progressively better and better here on out until, hopefully, by early evening, you’ll be practically undressing one another with your eyes (if not teeth).

A leisurely stroll past Richmond’s bounty of mid-range chain restaurants, and out to the stunning waterfront promenade, will bring the game plan back on course. Plenty of conversational fodder to be had along the way. Either comment on how provincial the London suburb feels, or, even better, reminisce about that time you both went charity shopping for the day. Good memories always win out.

At the water’s edge take a left and meander past Gaucho and The Bingham (both worthy of a short topic line) before reaching your final destination, The Petersham.

The Petersham is where you shall be enjoying the Isabella Plantation Afternoon Tea (for only £21 a pop). Offer to pay the bill, even if you don’t really mean to, as it will give the appearance that you’ve changed since that nasty break up. Your ex will probably notice that the cost is considerably cheaper than an afternoon tea in central London. In reply, you will simply ask: And does central London have a view like this?

As it’s hot outside, choose to sit on the side terrace. This will not only afford you more privacy - away from the ladies celebrating a 40th birthday, and the former business associates who have just arrived, loudly, from America - but also the full glory across the Petersham Meadows, out into the Thames and down to Eel Pie Island.

As you sip on a lovely, cooling glass of amber coloured Petersham own-brand Champagne, impress your ex with the information (which you have surreptitiously garnered from the menu) that the meadows - once painted by JMW Turner - were protected from development by a forward thinking Act of Parliament in 1902, which was then renewed for a further 1000 years in 2002.

At some point during the afternoon, probably not long after the Champagne and just before the first sip of Assam (be adventurous with your tea choice), the chat will undoubtedly hit a brief sour note as an ugly reminder of your past split will emerge. You will be reminded how stubborn you are. DO NOT REACT. Take a bite of a freshly cut finger sandwich - ham & pickle on brown; cucumber on white; salmon on brown; or ham & mustard on white - say “yum”, laugh off the insult, then remark jovially that by enjoying the floral-inspired afternoon tea together you are actually donating to charity.

Your ex will then inquire as to why this might be so, as they reach for a lychee and rosewater macaroon or strawberry and coriander tartlet.

You will then go onto explain how this specific afternoon tea at The Petersham (only available from June 1st-30th 2011) will see 10% go to The Royal Parks Foundation and the Isabella Plantation - an exotic woodland garden located in neighbouring Richmond Park (great for anyone who loves winter-flowering heathers, spring magnolias, summer-blooming Japanese irises or lilies, as well as bird watchers looking for the odd woodpecker, bullfinch or tawny owl) - hence the plates decorated with Nasturtium and Pansy flowers.

At this point take a breather. You’ve earned it. Enquire what your ex has been up to lately and listen intently whilst munching on a filling homemade fruit scone with West Country clotted cream and strawberry preserve.

Once they stop, briefly excuse yourself to use the facilities, leaving them to admire the rich view and to scoff the last lovely, minty, chocolately crunch thingy on layer two.

In the toilet, freshness up, gaze into the mirror, and remind yourself that you’re still a Tiger. Grrrrr!

Once back at the table you’ll need to diffuse any niggling thoughts your ex might have been dwelling on whilst you were away about the reasons for your untimely breakup. Quick as a flash, inform your ex that The Petersham has been also been enjoyed by many a celebrity (as seen by the photographs on the way to the facilities); such as, Michael Fish, Ant & Dec, Jerry Hall, Michael Douglas, Kate Winslet, Rory Bremner, Margaret Thatcher, John Malkovich, Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer, Fearne Cotton, Mick Jaguar, Keith Floyd, Robbie Williams, Richard Grant, Trevor McDonald, Snow Patrol, David Coulthard, Peter Crouch, and Johnnie Wilkinson.

If this doesn’t sway them, take a last swig of Assam, tell them how fabulous they are looking today (this will also help them forget the calorific intake they are ingesting during the afternoon tea), then, for a lasting artistic moment, read aloud the whimsical poem from the rear of the menu, as written by 9-year-old Uma Dare, entitled Time For Tea:

Sprinkle in a spoon of sugar
Drop in a drip of milk
Stir the tea once or twice
Take a sip or two
Take a bite of scones with jam and cream
Take a look at the view of the river or two
There you have a relaxing time at The Petersham

There are many ways to win back your ex-lover, but there aren’t many quite as delightful as afternoon tea at The Petersham.

Looking for more afternoon tea inspiration? Check out the best Afternoon Tea special offers in central London


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