For those of you based in or near Manchester, or even those of you who frequent Liverpool’s Bold Street, you must know about Leaf.
Leaf is a tea room with a difference. There are no chintz fabrics in sight here (though it has its place, don’t get me wrong), and tea is not it’s only USP.
Gin specialist, tea retailer, and events space, Leaf has something for everyone, not to mention delicious food and white marble tables a blogger could drool over.
The team at Manchester’s Leaf, found on Portland Street in a spacious high ceilinged space with industrial and scandi vibe decor, kindly invited me to attend their inaugural Pudding club!
What it says on the tin – pudding club is a must visit for those with a sweet tooth. Five – yes , five! – courses of pudding! Not only that, each dessert is matched to and served alongside a specially picked Leaf tea.
Having viewed the menu, I realised one course was a no-go for me as a peanut allergy sufferer. Emma, the lovely general manager hailing from Liverpool, took great care of me and substituted my course with little fuss.
First up came the star dish from my point of view : matcha Tea doughnuts with a warm white chocolate sauce. The Matcha worked beautifully with the dough/batter (what do you call it?!) and the chocolate sauce was delicious!
My husband, ever the sugar addict, favoured the pineapple soaked in rum and served with a rich caramel cream.
We also enjoyed courgette cake, peanut butter mousse (I had lemon & poppyseed cake instead for this course) and heavy rich chocolate truffles with pink peppercorns. At this point I threw in the towel! Those things were as big as they look.
Chocolate & pink peppercorn truffles
Emma made a wonderful host, teaching us about tea and explaining the health benefits of the components. Her passion for her job was very clear and she was such a pleasure to talk to!
Leaf pudding clubs are hosted once per month, cost an amazing £15.99 per ticket – keep an eye on their instagram or on their Manchester Listings for details of all upcoming events. They host bookclubs and music events, to name a couple.
I probably don’t need to tell you that weddings cost a fortune – believe me, I know! I got married in September last year (Have a nosey here!), and we saved and paid for everything within a year with a bit of help from family along the way.
There are a hundred and one things to pay for, and it all soon adds up. Before you know it, you’ve spent at least £10,000 on one day. ONE DAY! (And to be honest that’s probably being sensible, too). In the year of planning and executing the wedding, my husband and I found ways to save and things to compromise on that kept things within sensible realms of spending, but without necessarily going without.
Forget the Favours
What’s the point in wedding favours anyway? We spend time worrying about it, and then I thought, if I went to a wedding and thought it had cost the lovely couple a fortune just to give me some novelty chocolates I’d scoff down in seconds, I’d feel terrible! Wedding guests are privileged even to be there in the first place, you don’t need to shell out gifts! Which brings me on to…
Trim the Guest List Composing a guest list can be a tricky thing. By having less people you’ll save money on food and drink, but you might not wish to leave people out. There are many guides out there to help you but my advice would be this – invite who you want to be there. If money is an issue, keep the ceremony & Wedding breakfast small, and invite your wider friend groups to the evening party. If you can’t trim the guest list down, don’t worry, because you could…
Get Creative With the Cake Forget about the traditional iced 4 tier monstrosity. Simple and rustic Chic is in! Maybe even think about making it yourself (but remember that taking on too much before the big day could end in tears!) or getting one of the chefs in the family to do it. It’ll make a big difference to your budget, and family love to help in whatever way they can when it comes to your special day. My cake was made for me by an Aunt on my husband’s side of the family, and it was delicious!
Make Some of the Decor
There are loads of things you can make to add to the decor yourself, like the bunting. Don’t go out and buy it when you could make it for next to nothing. It’ll take more time, but you’ll have more of a budget to play with! We created a photo wall using string, pegs, and some cute postcards that cost 80p each from Paperchase! Visit your local outlet places as well – we picked up boxes of tealight holders, bunting and luggage labels for our seating tags for outlet prices. We had reams and reams of fairy lights, too!!
This also applies when it comes to invitations – my husband designed ours and we got the printed through a contact I had at work for free! If you’re not creative, there are lots of great small companies you can approach to make paper themes wedding invites!
Table flowers can also be covered off with relative inexpensive by saving jam jars for a year and using wild flowers!
Marry Out of Peak Season Marrying during peak season is nice, but it isn’t essential. Marrying out of peak season, on an unusual day will save you a load of money. Just make sure you let all of your guests know well in advance so they can get the time off work – remember – it’s your day!
Rent Your Outfits Why buy your wedding outfits when they’re probably only going to sit there forever after never to be used again? This is especially true of ushers and bridesmaids. Rent them instead! You’ll save a fortune on dresses, suits, and shoes.
Instead of asking for gifts from your family, ask for favours instead. We never had a wedding list, but close family wanted to know what we wanted as a wedding gift. My mother paid for my dress and my Dad chucked in for the catering! . Usually couples put a poem on their invites, requesting financial help versus gifts – people do understand that picking our your own things is much better and less stressful!
Make your own Playlist Why get a DJ when you can make your own playlist? You can include songs you know you’ll like, and songs that will get everybody up and dancing. You can even include songs especially for other couples that have attended, or ask for suggestions on your RSVP cards! I spent hours crafting playlists – one for the dinner, one for the first dance, and then a couple of playlists for the evening party! It was fun, personal and I got so many comments from my guests on my epic song choices!
In short, your mantra should be, “It’s our day”. I can’t stress that enough to people who are planning. Family are important, sure, but your wedding day is a reflection of you and your partner’s personalities, and compromise on your choices should be minimised! If you’re soon to be married, congratulations.
Today I went out for a spot of tea and cake with a few friends to Manchester’s Propertea tearooms. Situated by the beautiful Manchester cathedral, Propertea is a bright airy cafe, a patchwork of reclaimed beautiful furniture, expansive white walls and filament bulbs.
It prides itself on its teas, brewed from the leaf and served with a separate empty vessel to pour out your tea to ensure that it does not overbrew past your taste.
At the counter there is a selection of cakes, behind which are the teas, available also to buy to take away with you to brew at home.
Each table has beautiful fresh flowers, and the cakes are served on cute blue China plates.
Have any of my Manchester based readers visited Propertea?