Tea at Tiffany’s – a bite of the Big Apple in Surrey

Twinings Tea, Audrey and Cat!

Tea at Tiffany’s – actually the very lovely Warren House!

New York is my all-time favourite city and my ‘happy place’, but I love my home in leafy Surrey, too.

A classic representation of New York, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is also one of my all-time favourite films. When I was last in New York, back in June last year, I bought a number of books inspired by both this iconic Audrey Hepburn film and the mythical status of Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue – “Fifth Avenue, 3AM” and “Summer at Tiffany’s”. It’s making me long to go back to the amazing NYC again! More on my amazing trip to the Big Apple soon…

My Holly Golightly looks

My Holly Golightly-inspired outfit – and Cat!

 

My lovely friends at The Secret Tea Society, also huge fans of both Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Audrey Hepburn, recreated the magic of the film and paid homage to the wonderful Audrey in a Breakfast at Tiffany’s-themed afternoon tea, right here in lovely Surrey!

Lovely, peaceful garden

The stunning secret grotto garden!

I was so excited to put on my little black dress (a cute little number from Anna Sui, bought especially for the occasion and based on the outfit that Holly Golightly wears when she visits Sing Sing); my black patent kitten heel Jimmy Choos (appropriately purchased in Saks Fifth Avenue during my visit last June) and some fabulous jewellery (a very sparkly choker-style necklace bought for me by one of my lovely Sisters-in-Law a few years ago) for this most elegant of teas! I even put my hair up in a bouffant bun!

Taking with me Cat (not my real cat, but a very lifelike soft toy!) and raincoat in reference to the iconic final scene of the movie, I headed over to the stunning Warren House, the venue for our special event. Greeted warmly by the lovely lady at reception and our tea sommelier for the afternoon, I headed into the stylish sitting room reserved just for the ladies of the Secret Tea Society. The sun beamed through the windows and the French doors were open onto a secret grotto – an adorable cobbled garden and fountain, which led to the statuesque grounds, where other happy guests were enjoying sumptuous afternoon teas.

Choosing our Twinings loose leaf tea

Choosing our Twinings loose leaf tea at Warren House – spoiled for choice!

After a glass of Champagne and catching up with the fabulous Secret Tea ladies, we sat down to play a few games – a prize for the best representation of Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly (my lovely table-mate, Clare, won with her striking Holly Golightly party look!) and a quiz to see who knew the most fun facts about the film (my table won, naturally!) Our prize was a copy of the film and, of course, some delicious tea, from Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company.

Lovely afternoon tea at Warren House

Delicious teatime treats at Warren House

Next, we chose our Twinings loose-leaf tea – I decided to try both the Darjeeling and Assam – two of my favourites and full of flavour!

 

Then we were delighted to see the fantastic spread appear before our eyes – delicate, flavourful sandwiches, dainty, melt-in-the-mouth scones, the most amazing mini cinnamon loaves, tempting cakes and sweet treats. After stuffing ourselves happily with as much as we could manage, there was stll plenty left to take doggy bags home!

The Tiffany's-inspired decorations I took home

Some of the lovely Tiffany’s-inspired decorations

We also each took home some of the beautiful decorations that our “Hostess With the Mostest”, Founder of the Secret Tea Society, Claire Worrell, had lovingly made: Tiffany-blue-green pom-poms, ladylike table flowers adorned with Tiffany-style ribbon and pearl decorations, matching feathers and shiny butterflies! I have mine proudly on display next to my Tiffany-coloured heart chalkboard in the kitchen.

What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! I had such a good time, and it was tremendous fun not only seeing all my lovely Secret Tea friends again, but seeing everyone in their fabulous outfits. I also cannot recommend Warren House and the incredible team there highly enough.

Both an afternoon and an Afternoon Tea to remember! X

Bloggers Love – Bloggers Fashion Week

Bloggers Fashion Week

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Bloggers Love Bloggers Fashion Week with my  fellow blogger at the Penthouse in London’s Leicester Square.  A packed room with a live DJ greeted us – a wonderland of fashion finds and shiny, sparkly goodies!

My friend and I started the evening with a Bloggers Love inspired cocktail each, a Bloggertini!  The fetching shade of bright pink matched rather well with my pink-tinged outfit, all in keeping with the “Summer Garden Party Chic” theme.

Bloggertinis

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Jara Wine halterneck dress

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

My eye was first drawn to some beautiful silky dresses in pastel-hued patterns.  The lovely Jara Wine uses top-quality French fabric to create her light, floaty, and incredibly feminine dresses and tops.  Each stunning pattern lends itself to two distinct designs of dress, one halter neck and one with a round neck and short sleeves.  I have my eye on the lovely peachy-pink French bicycle-patterned dress, but can’t decide between the two styles.  Could I justify both, I wonder?!Jara Wine short sleeve bicycle print dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cako Cocktail T-shirt

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Next we spotted some suitably summery T-shirts and vest tops, but with a difference!  Cako’s ingenious designs appear black and white at first glance, but when exposed to UV Light, come alive with colour!  We couldn’t see the magic happen at night, but were amazed to see the transformation demonstrated on their website.  And if you don’t fancy rainbow brights, a luxe monochrome look can be achieved with their equally striking sparkly designs in both black and white cotton.  My personal favourite is the Audrey Hepburn design – a true fashion icon and my favourite actress of all time.  Unsurprisingly, this popular design had sold out on the night!  I’m putting my order in online, in time for my girly holiday to Paris in a few weeks!

Tutti Rouge brasMore pretty pink glistened at me from the corner of my eye – this time in the guise of a stunning silky bra from Tutti Rouge.  I’m an absolute sucker for beautiful lingerie, and was delighted that this range comes in an enormous range of sizes.  Being fairly amply-busted, I will definitely be making the most of their special offer so I can stock up on delicate matching sets for Spring and Summer – and something sultry for my upcoming special anniversary! 😉

Thinking about packing beautiful things to wear for my forthcoming trips, I stumbled across eskay W – named after the fabulous Mr S K Wong and his extraordinary reversible outfits!  I’ve never been one to pack light, but think I could be converted by these impressive little numbers.  It was a pleasure to meet a designer with such a passion for his art – he really exudes joy when talking about his collections, of which he should rightfully be proud!  And thinking forward to Autumn/Winter, eskay W were proudly launching their suitably-titled Darker Hues collection.Eskay W

While chatting to the delightful Mr Wong, more shiny loveliness glinted at me from the corner – shimmering silk scarves from Guirado Design, hanging from a beautiful antique screen.  Here was another explosion of colour and artistic expression, like paint splashed with abandon across a canvas.  The reason for this is all this is a wonderful story about how this fashion business came into being.  Dani Choyen of Thinkers HQ explained to us that the scarves were designed to bring to life the inspirational artwork of the artist Juan Antonio Guirado, who began his career as a mural painter in Madrid and sadly died in 2010.  After her father passed away, his daughter, Catalina Guirado, inherited Juan Antonio’s artwork and embarked on a journey to discover more about her father’s life and body of work, and to share his collections with art critics and a global audience.  In support of his work, Catalina founded Guirado Design in 2013, a unique collection of luxury silk scarves featuring a select number of her father’s paintings, chosen for their distinct embodiment of Guirado’s signature style, from the years shortly before his death.

Guirado Design scarvesSilk is the ideal medium to display Guirado’s art, and the Autumn/Winter collections are also available in luxurious and toasty-warm cashmere.  Photographs don’t really do justice to the intricate designs on these scarves, but the kaleidoscope colours are here for all to see!

Still not having bought anything, I spotted some more beauties at the lovely blogger-turned-boutique-owner Melanie Grunshaw’s pop-up boutique for I Want Your Clothes – and this time, I just had to buy, there and then!  I have been following Melanie’s blog for some time, so was both surprised and delighted to learn that she has set up her own clothing business.

Tour EiffelI bought two springlike pieces, both perfect for my visit to Paris after Easter!  The first was a silky, fine knit with a delicate rose print.  I love blouse/jumper combinations like this, and it matches most of my existing wardrobe!  Yet more sparkle caught my eye here, with a cute Eiffel Tower sweatshirt, made out of really unusual textured fabric.  I will wear this with pride on the Eurostar!

IWYC rose sweaterNext, I made a beeline for Nadia Minkoff – what an honour for her to be here, meeting bloggers and talking about her collections!  She very generously gave me some dainty, sparkly earrings when I instantly fell for – yes, you’ve guessed it – a gold handbag!  The subtle gold envelope clutch is just the right size, in butter-soft leather (oh, the smell!) and will be perfect for when I attend the prestigious UKFT Awards next month, paired with my gladiator-style Jimmy Choo heels.  Planning my outfit already…

Nadia Minkoff bags

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Nadia Minkoff bag and jewellery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was even more excited (think whoops of joy!) when I opened my parcel to find a little envelope with a tea-time design in pink(!) nestled inside – and found the most perfect “Tea with Rachael” necklace, complete with a tiny blue teapot and cute little cupcake!  I put it on straightaway for my afternoon tea and visit to Kew Gardens with family!

Rachel Black hats and fascinators

Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

I also treated myself to more sparkle in the form of some dainty hair decorations from a fellow Rachel and fantastic milliner, Rachel Black – perfect for the upcoming Twenties-themed Secret Tea Society Annual Tea at Byfleet Manor (the Dowager Countess’s House from Downton, don’t you know?!)

Phew!  My inner magpie has officially taken flight and soared off to feather my nest with all these beautiful things!  Must be time for a cup of tea – and a lovely pink cupcake!

think pink

Have a sparkling evening!

Rachael X