With Valentine's Day just around the corner, you might be wondering what to buy your significant other. And while flowers, chocolates and lingerie are all lovely gifts, there's nothing quite like giving the gift of an experience, creating memories and making the day truly special, one to remember.
So when Virgin Experience Days offered me the opportunity to indulge in one of their Valentine's experiences - a delicious afternoon tea at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane - I jumped at the chance. And I took none other than my professional other half and blogging sidekick, Zoe. Because by the way, Galentine's Day is actually a thing (see here if you don't believe me).
This year, Virgin Experience Days have partnered with Instax to "give the gift of a memory" so I received a gorgeous white Instax camera to take with me for the experience, allowing me to snap away at the food, flowing champagne and my wonderful photographer in action. There's just something so special about instant photos; no focusing, no editing, just snap and receive a little printed square, ready to pin up and look at to remind you of the day.
So let's talk afternoon tea. As a coeliac with a dairy allergy (cue a million eye rolls), afternoon tea can be just a little tricky, as I'm sure you can imagine. Traditional afternoon tea is, after all, sandwiches and cake. So to say I was impressed by the hotel's ability to cater for me would be a massive understatement. They blew me (and Zoe) out the water. I had my own selection of very dense sandwiches (each one was about 4 inches thick), plate of cakes and even freshly-baked, still-warm-when-they-arrived-at-the-table gluten free scones. And I ate every. single. bite.
Zoe had the traditional Birdcage Afternoon Tea and we both had an abundance of champagne and tea (so much tea). I opted for Moroccan Mint & Rose while Zoe chose the Nutty Chocolate Assam - which I was informed tasted very much like real chocolate.
With a harp playing in the background (talk about romcom movie setting), warm mood lighting and a big old squishy sofa, it is the perfect place to spend Valentine's with your loved one.
But Zoe and I had a blast. Usually only meeting to shoot and then review the photos over coffee, it was so lovely to sit down and have some proper girly time, take some Instax photos for our own personal use (rather than for publication across various social channels) and just enjoy spending time together.
I know I shout from the rooftops about how I couldn't be without her but in all seriousness, I couldn't. And I wouldn't want to. Because not only does she shoot 80% of all the content you ever see, she's also a damn good friend, a wonderful human being and someone I love to be around. So seeing as it's (almost) Valentine's Day, Zoe - I've got a lot of love for you girl.
Virgin Experience Days have a huge range of Experience Gifts to choose from (browse them all here) but personally, I don't think you can go far wrong with champagne and cake.
A massive thank you to both Virgin Experience Days and Instax for such a wonderful afternoon tea. I'd pop back tomorrow, if only for those melt-in-the-mouth warm scones ...
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Virgin Experience Days.