Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea

Need a simple idea?  Why not host a Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea?  I am not talking about a lavish event instead I am suggesting an intimate affair for you and the one you love.  Mother’s Day is May 11th this year, just a month away. Your typical Mother’s Day may be as simple as sending a card or flowers, or picking up the phone. Do you try to get together with your mum?   If so, what about setting aside some time for a Mother’s Day afternoon tea instead of fighting the Sunday brunch crowds?

Most mothers I know desire more quality time. Either their children are young, and they long for quality, uninterrupted time with their friends, or their children are grown and desire uninterrupted conversations and the full attention of their busy adult children. What could a mother enjoy more than a chance to sit down over a pot of afternoon tea and an opportunity for quality time with their loved ones?

Here’s a few simple ideas to get started:

1. Properly invite your mother. Decide whether to bring your Mother’s Day afternoon tea to her or host her it your home. Call her with a specific time and place that’s easy on her.

2. All you need for the event, especially if afternoon tea is a brand new experience is:

  • an uncluttered corner with two comfortable chairs and a small table.
  • a tablecloth or piece of pretty fabric to cover the table.
  • a small bouquet of flowers. Grocery store flowers work as well as the abundant wild flowers available right now.
  • a pot of properly-brewed tea.
  • two pretty tea cups. (If you don’t have any, ask a friend or even your mum!)
  • a particularly yummy dessert you make yourself or pick up at a bakery.

Now, there are many little details one can add to this event such as: linen napkins, instrumental music, or a savory. However, if you have never hosted afternoon tea, keep it simple and remember that the gift of quality time is your focus. If your mother mothered you before 1970, a Mother’s Day afternoon tea may very well have been a part of her history, yet not something she’s experienced with you.

If you’re a mother who needs quality time with your friends, see if you can modify the above with 3 or 4 of you on the Saturday afternoon before Mother’s Day. See if dads can watch the little ones, keep it simple, and give yourselves time to enjoy one another un-rushed and un-interrupted.

What mother do you know could benefit from sitting down over tea this spring for Mother’s Day?

 

Six Possible Party Themes for your Autumn Event

Fall events

Digging through the Tea Party Girl archives I found this great article from our founder, Jenny Wells.

Take a peek and get inspired!

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Autumn is notoriously a busy time. Maybe we feel we need to make up for summer slothfulness, or something. We prep for the holidays, plan retreats and seminars, play sports (soccer moms, anyone?), try to tackle house projects before the winter comes, and teach our children well. So, my criteria for a fall (so sorry, I mean AUTUMN) event is that everyone can help and we need to keep it simple.

I modified this list with some help from the following list from some of my favorite party planning books, including:

  1. Bless This Food:Four Seasons of Menus, Recipes, and Table Graces
  2. Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions:Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort and Joy
  3. The Family Manager Takes Charge: Getting on the Fast Track to a Happy, Organized Home
  • Parisian Art Night-I learned November 14th is Claude Monet’s birthday. Thanks to the Internet, anyone can learn about French Impressionism and share a favorite painting. I would ask everyone to bring a French-related food (everyone’s at least heard of Brie, right?), download music from composers of the era, and buy a few bottles of Champagne from my favorite discount store, Trader Joe’s
  • Everyone’s Birthday-Instead of another gift exchange and dessert at the holidays, I would choose a night for “us” (whomever your group might be) for an Everyone’s Birthday night. Everyone brings a decent gift (set a price limit) wrapped. Depending on the size of the group, look for bakers or purchase a few fancy cakes. Serve coffee, tea, and maybe even port (yum!) and celebrate everyone at once.
  • Advent-Do the holidays stress you out? Does Christmas mean a lot of responsibility? How about an Advent party to prepare? I will host mine on November 30th. For my social group, we do a project together that helps us feel more prepared (i.e. address Christmas cards, make an Advent wreath, etc.) and watch a holiday movie to help get us in the mood.
  • Harvest-A common Autumn theme, I like to plan mine outside when the weather is first changing. Invite everyone to wear their favorite sweater and find a patio with a fire-pit. Light lanterns or another adult version of jack-0-lanterns and celebrate life’s fullness. If you can get everyone organized, this is a great theme for a book, clothing, or other exchange where you can share your abundance in some way with others.
  • Friendly Competition-This is a theme that women might wrinkle their noses at, but enjoy once the ball gets rolling (no pun intended). We’re great at sitting, gabbing, and eating, but consider a night of friendly competition over ping-pong, pool, fooz-ball, etc., with a tournament tree and all. Only finger-food eaten out of a napkin allowed.
  • Pasta Potluck-Carb-lovers, unite! Make a ton of pasta and ask people to bring their favorite sauce. Serve garlic bread, wine, and maybe a salad. Enjoy the insulin rush together.

 

Of course, all of the above parties need to include tea, if for no other reason than to invite this wonderful beverage who has been often discriminated against in the past.

What autumn event will you plan or attend?

Share it with Tea Party Girl – Leave A Comment Please!

How the Movies Communicate the Heart of Tea

royal_albert

royal_albert

 

 

I recently watched Miss Potter for the first time. Enjoyed the movie, thoroughly (Ewan McGregor sings, how could I not?). A classic story of English aristocracy, this interpretation of Beatrix Potter showcased many of the values I hold dear. These included:

  • a commitment to creative work despite the objections of others, even one’s own family.
  • a love for farming and preservation of the land.
  • living through heartache and coming out stronger on the other side.

But another value I hold dear that may not have been as easily noticed by other viewers was the constant presence of the teapot. [Read more...]

You Don’t Have to be a Perfectionist to have a Perfect Tea Party

 

tea party hostess

by Jenny Wells

I’m sure this problem of perfectionism does not affect all my readers, but statistically it applies to many of us. Perfectionism when planning a party is draining, indeed. Even without perfectionism, it still takes me four “days” (those are multiple children in the house days) to host an event in my home.

  • One day to clean
  • One day to cook/bake
  • One day to host my tea event
  • One day to clean-up and put everything away

Now a perfectionist, as I was in my former life before children, would clean the whole house. I make sure my front door/porch and the downstairs half-bath is clean. Don’t get me wrong, I still sweep up, wipe down, take the trash out, etc. But I only CLEAN the above mentioned.

A perfectionist would make all food from scratch, take hours preparing it, or spend more than they should with a caterer. As a reformed perfectionist, I delegate to my husband who enjoys being in the kitchen, and my best tea buddy who likes to bake. If I didn’t have them, I would pick one or two great foods already prepared and supplement with items that don’t require a long time in the kitchen.

SCONE

 

Hosting USED to wipe me out mainly because of my perfectionism in the above two areas. Now I make sure I have time before my party to relax and I keep a focused but relaxed agenda for the actual event. No one wants to be driven by their hostess’ agenda of the way the event should go. I’ve worked hard to “let it go” and allow my guests to enjoy one another without a lot of interference. This has a lot to do with internal work on my part and experience. I also try really hard to have nothing I HAVE to do the last hour before my event except fill water glasses, light candles, remove things from the fridge, etc.

As for cleaning up, I DO recommend putting away all food, filling one’s dishwasher, and clearing tables as much as possible as soon as an event is over. DON’T SIT DOWN! But I give myself twenty-four hours to put everything away, like the things I store only for events like these.

How have you, reformed perfectionists, learned to manage hostess-stress? My area of weakness involves continuing to feed my family during those few days surrounding an event. My kitchen is already such a mess and I’m working to keep on top of it and kids want five meals a day. Any suggestions?

 

 

How to Build Your Tea Party Pantry

RoyalButler

So you’re convinced. You’ve read “The Top Seven Mistakes Tea Drinkers Make“. You want to begin brewing looseleaf tea and develop your first real tea party menu.  But where do you start?

My article, “The Secret to the Simple and Quick Tea Party” talks about the first ten items I recommend purchasing in order to have what you need for a simple tea party for four.

This article will give you the list of my favorite tea party food items to have on hand.

For more specific information on planning a full tea menu, click on my “Tea Party Food” category link on my sidebar. These items are great for the impromptu party menu or those who prefer minimal food preparation on a limited food budget.

 

 

  1. Boxed red pepper soup–easily garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche, some chopped candied nuts, and sprinkled chives.
  2. Candied nuts–to garnish a soup, salad, or both.
  3. Bite-sized frozen quiches and or Spiral Tea Sandwiches (also in cooler section)
  4. Cream cheese and bread–the staple of tea sandwiches. Add thinly-sliced cucumbers, chopped herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, apple butter, or whatever you have available. Cut off the crusts and into triangles or rectangles and garnish if possible for quick and simple tea sandwiches.
  5. Frozen scones–My favorite local brand are Fat Cat Scones. Research what might be available in your area. Many scones mixes are available, like Cupboard of Blessings, as well. The best way is to prepare from scratch and cut scones at your leisure, freeze them, and then pop them straight into the oven when needed.
  6. Creme Fraiche and Lemon CurdTrader Joe’s provides both. These are my favorite and quick accompaniments for scones.
  7. Chocolate Truffles --if you don’t bake and 90% of women I know want something with chocolate. I’ve seen boxes of simple chocolate truffles at Trader Joe’s and Costco. Place them in paper candy cups (I collect them throughout the year based on the season) or on tiny paper doilies.
  8. Store bought Pound Cake
  9. Canned berry or cherry pie filling – My preference for garnishing pound cake quickly. If you have creme fraiche left over, whipped cream or vanilla ice cram, add them as well.
  10. Tea – Remember, this is The Tea Party’s Most Important Ingredient! Learn to brew tea the old-fashioned way and wow yourself and your guests.

These aren’t your only options, of course. Enjoy browsing your local or online gourmet grocery store for more ideas of quick and simple tea party food ideas.

Remember, food is only as good as the ingredients you put into it and less is more. Tea parties are the time to provide a few bites that taste fabulous instead of stuffing your guests with food that is just different forms of white sugar and flour.

Enjoy imagining your tea party pantry and what you want to have easily available for a little-touch-of-something for yourself or others.