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Top 5 Ideas for Mother’s Day

3 March 2016 | Lydia Cooper

Here are some suggestions for ways to spend this weekend if you are yet to plan anything for Mother’s Day. As well as twists on the traditional afternoon tea, flowers and chocolates, we suggest wandering around Hampstead and playing with cats.

Afternoon tea at the Orangery

The Orangery restaurant at Kew Gardens are offering a special afternoon tea until 6 March 2016, with a glass of prosecco and then freshly made sandwiches and cakes.  It costs £17.50 for a classic afternoon tea, or £24 with prosecco. Booking essential. The experience can be integrated into an entire day out at Kew if you visit their ongoing Orchid Festival too. On Saturdays you can go on a guided tour of the Tropical Nursery at Kew for £10 and see the parts of the gardens that are normally closed to the public, learning about how these fascinating flowers and plants are cared for.

If a day trip to Kew doesn’t float your boat, there are many other places to treat your mum to afternoon tea. We’d recommend the MADD Hatter’s Café in Covent Garden, which offers an Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea for just £14; Muriel’s Kitchen (various locations), famous for its homemade cakes, offers the experience for £15.75; Villandry offers tea for £18 and is in a stunning baroque building, with high ceilings, large windows and views of Big Ben. Many art galleries also offer afternoon tea, including the restaurants at the Saatchi and National Gallery, so you could spend the afternoon wandering around an exhibition and then relax over tea and cake.

 

Houses in Hampstead

Both rain and snow are potential forecasts for this weekend, but not to worry. You can retreat inside and explore the fascinating interiors of a stately home instead. Our picks are Keats House and Kenwood, which are both in Hampstead.

Kenwood House is in the perfect location for rambling walks across Hampstead Heath, as the estate lies just to the north of it, with spectacular views into central London.  Sculptures by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Eugene Dodeigne can be found in the gardens, and the house is notable for its architecture and design. There are some remarkable paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Reynolds and Gainsborough, but also lots of other intriguing works, such as Joseph Wright’s sinister and fascinating ‘Two Girls Dressing a Kitten by Candlelight’. Admission to the house is free.

At the south of the Heath, Keats House is another beautiful writer’s house to explore.  The Romantic poet lived there from 1818 to 1820, and is said to have composed ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ in the garden. On Saturday they are running a workshop with Dr Hugh Epstein, which will explore poems by Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats, and how landscape and weather influenced their poetry. It’s £38 for a five-hour workshop. Standard entry to explore the house is £5.50 and tickets are valid for a year.

Hampstead is also a lovely area to visit used bookshops, hide away in pubs such as the Holly Bush, and explore the upmarket shops on the high street. Finish the day by visiting La Creperie de Hampstead, a stand which is infamous in north London. 

 

Flower Power

At Boxpark Shoreditch, Wild Renata Flowers will be doing a one-off pop up shop for the duration of the Mother’s Day period, with fresh luxury blooms. For a more hands-on experience for mums who like arts and crafts, Heal’s are offering a Mother’s Day flower-arranging workshop on Saturday. With the help of a talented florist from Wildabout Flowers, you can design and create beautiful hand-tied bouquets. Wildabout Flowers are famous for creating breath-taking backdrops for London Fashion Week, as well as working with Agent Provocateur and Alexander McQueen. The price is £70 for two places, including refreshments on arrival.

To continue on the garden theme, the RA’s exhibition Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse is a sure-fire winner, but tickets must be booked in advance to ensure you actually get in this weekend.

You could also get tickets to the Country Living Magazine Spring Fair this March, which has hand-picked stalls where you can snap up some bargains: we are giving away 30 pairs of tickets, so why not enter and get a nice surprise for your mum for free?

 

Cuddle up with Cats

Head to the London Cat Village in Shoreditch to spend an hour relaxing with seventeen adorable cats. You can catch up with your mum while the cats wander around - if you’re lucky, they might decide to get on your lap - and there is always relaxing music in the background, meaning that you leave feeling very zen. Entry is just £5, the staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, and they serve generous portions of cake.

 

Chocolate-making Workshops

If your mum is a chocolate fanatic, you can treat her to a more refined experience rather than buying her supermarket chocolates.

William Curley offer classes tailored to your favourite chocolates of choice, from truffle workshops, to sea salt caramel bars, to Venezuelan chocolate cadeaux. It’s a pricey option (from £85), so we recommend it only for true chocolate enthusiasts, but you can take home your high-quality creations to enjoy.

Classes at Paul A. Young are similarly focused on fine chocolate and budding chocolatiers. Their upcoming classes include the secret to making the perfect fudgy brownie (dubbed ‘the best in London’ by Time Out), at which you can sample hand-made chocolates and take your brownies home. Again, classes are a steep £75 per person.

The best value we’ve found is the Original Chocolate Workshop, which offers an introduction with tasting, the chance to create your own personalised giant chocolate button, and hand-making chocolate cream truffles with exquisite decorations. At the end of the two hour workshop, you can take home your own chocolate creations, including the giant button and at least 15 handmade chocolates. Classes cost £49 for one, £98 for two.

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