Time for a blooming great tea party

After a few days of being quite poorly after the excitement of National Tea Day, I’ve had to have a bit of time away from the computer screen, so still have many tea adventures to share! One future tea adventure I would like to share with you, which I am very excited about, is that I am planning a Blooming Great Tea Party for Marie Curie in June. What better reason to invite people round for good tea, good food, fun and frolics? (And to get the good china out!) This year, Marie Curie have provided a wealth of inspiration for baking, food and tea pairings, as well as ideas for fun activities on the day and how to set up the tea party. I particularly love the celebrity recipes that have been shared, including the wonderful banana bread recipe from Stanley Tucci’s late wife – such a moving tribute!

Marie Curie

Marie Curie

Blooming beautiful!
I am planning a vintage style party – naturally – following a yellow theme to reflect the colour of the iconic Marie Curie daffodil. There will be a big, bonny bunch of yellow daffodils in the centre of the table, and I think my vintage blue and white china jug will contrast beautifully with the yellow tea set.

Time for tea
I’m planning to serve a variety of different teas, some traditional, some very new, and some old favourites with an interesting new spin. Some of my lovely tea friends have offered to help, so I should have plenty of good quality teas to go round!

Tea and cake

Tea and cake inspiration for the Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party

Afternoon tea with all the trimmings…
So, what food to serve? This will be afternoon tea with a twist and with a number of very specific requirements. I am gluten and dairy free, with allergies to a number of different foods.

A number of my guests will have special dietary requirements – so this means adapting recipes for no gluten, no dairy, no fish, etc. I plan to enlist the help of two of my best friends: one of them a very accomplished baker, who has created some fabulous gluten and dairy free cakes for me before; and one who is a talented chef and also now also gluten free.

Yellow outfit for National Tea Day and my Blooming Great Tea Party for Marie Curie

Mellow Yellow outfit for National Tea Day and inspiration for my Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party

What to wear?
I think I will wear my bright yellow jacket that was so appropriate for National Tea Day. I even wore it with a sparkly Marie Curie daffodil brooch, which will, of course, have to make another appearance for this event in honour of such a fantastic cause. I will be posting some more in the run up to the big day, with recipe ideas, different teas to serve, and table setting inspiration.

 

Get involved
You can join in the fun, too – you can sign up at www.mariecurie.org.uk/teaparty and plan your party for 23rd-25th June.

To get inspiration for your own Blooming Great Tea Party, visit the website at www.mariecurie.uk/teaparty/celebrityrecipes and decide what you would like to bake!

I will keep you updated on my progress…

Until next time,

Rachael XX

Time for a Tea Party – Tipsy Tea?

  

Fun in the sun?

The beautiful summery weather at the weekend inspired me to think about summer parties – sipping cocktails and fruity drinks in the sunshine, music and a BBQ! And my visit to the Foodies Festival provided even further inspiration, tasting yummy food and sipping summery drinks in the blazing sunshine on Hampton Court Green! (A full review of the fabulous Foodies Festival will follow soon!)

And then the sky went grey, the wind started to blow, and it rained!  My thoughts turned to hot drinks – tea, of course, and also proper coffee.  I have purchased some fab vintage finds over the past few weeks, having been on several successful charity shop rummages and bagging bargains from my favourite online vintage sellers, like the lovely Seld Emrys Jones.

So, I started to think about adapting summer parties for the great British weather, and came up with some more interesting ideas!

It’s all gone a bit Gatsby…

The Roaring Twenties are all the rage again, with the release of Baz Luhrmann’sThe Great Gatsby, and Boardwalk Empire being one of the box sets of choice, so why not live it up, Prohibition style, and enjoy a British-American summer party indoors, in the warmth of the house?  I’m a huge fan of all things 1920s – the fashion, art, furniture, jewellery – and love the decadent feel.  What better way to recreate that feeling that using your vintage teacups, saucers and other tea paraphenalia for the cocktails?

Tipsy Tea Cups

I love the idea of serving cocktails in tea cups (another nod to the 20s era!), like this fabulous Absinthe cocktail from the Powderpuff Girls at the Powder Room (very appropriate for the launch of Paul et Joe’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream themed summer range last year.)There are some fab places where you can try tea cup cocktails out and about, like The Tea Box in Richmond, and I’m hoping to get more inspiration from a visit to Prohibition and the 20s architecture in New York!

But far more fun to try it at home with your own vintage pieces, using vintage cups to serve the cocktails and retro coffee pots instead of jugs.

And then I found out about the lovely people at Tipsy Tea Cups, who decided to make their own very special vintage glasses after inspiration from a stay in a fab hotel.  They use their own (top secret!) bonding technique to fuse tea cups and saucers with wine and cocktail glasses to create some really unique and eye-catching pieces, that will certainly add that vintage feel to your party.  I particularly love the shades of blue in some of these beauties, which would go very well in my dining room (particularly the pearlescent piece with matching pot – perfect for pouring those cocktails!)

And Tipsy Tea Cups or vintage tea or coffee cups and saucers can help create the right mood and atmosphere, setting the tone for the evening, filled with tealights.  Why not match the scented candles to the cocktails or food being served?  For example, rose scented tealights to go with my rose and red berry cocktail, rosemary scented candles to go with rosemary foccacia, or lavender scented to go with lavender tea?

More tea?

But why stop the tea association there? Why not make some of the cocktails with actual tea? I tried this with loose leaf tea from the fabulous Monkey Char, a Richmond based tea company who make some really unusual fruity and floral blends that work particularly well for cocktails, as well as a refreshing brew!

 

 

 

Tipsy Tea with Rachael – The ingredients…

How to make it…

Simply brew the tea, let it cool, mix with a small amount of cordial and equal parts liqueur, and serve with ice!  And why not have the bubbly version, topped up with Champagne?!  The beauty of this cocktail is that it makes an equally delicious non-alcoholic “mocktail” version as well!  (Just add sparkling water for the fizzy version!)

My other favourite year-round cocktail, Rachael’s Ray of Sunshine, mixes apple juice, ginger beer, Belvoir apple and ginger cordial, apple flavoured vodka and a twist of lime.  I’ve included a picture here of some I made last Christmas, proving it really does work beautifully, come rain or come shine!

When the weather gets better, I’ll also share some summer cocktail ideas, including Mojito and Margarita-inspired cocktails using organic fruit juices.

So, until next time, whether it’s pouring with rain or the sun is pouring in the window, pour yourself something nice.  Enjoy a tipsy tea tipple (or perhaps a warming cuppa?) when it’s time for your tea break!

Rachael X