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?


Where to find inexpensive teacups

inexpensive teacups

inexpensive teacups

I am often asked, “where can I find inexpensive teacups? “  That is a great question.  There are several resources that you might consider if you want to add to your teacup collection.  Owning an assortment of affordable cups and saucers will come in handy for children’s tea parties, additional guests, gifts, picnics and more.

Here are a few of my “go to” resources.

1. Maryland China Company

Maryland China Company offers both wholesale and retail sales.  They primarily offer white china which can be used for almost everything.  They also offer paintable china for your own custom designs. Maryland China’s prices are always low but their clearance section is absolutely rock bottom and you can find some super cool designs.  Today, I found toast and tea sets for as low as $3.75 each!

Visit their clearance section here and be sure to read the requirements for purchase.


2.  Magpie Marketing

If you are looking for British China then look no further than Magpie Marketing.  While Magpie is essentially a wholesale company their purchase minimum is SUPER LOW so anyone can probably find a way to work with them.  Here are a few examples of things they recently featured on their site.

-Mix and Match China Cups and Saucers – Bone China $5 each

-Oversized Breakfast Cups and Saucers- Bone China $10 each

-London Design Teacups and Saucer (set of 2) – $8


Visit their site here and check out their amazing offers.


3. Ebay Lots

Ebay has long been a “go to” place for china.  I have found many teacups on this site however, there is a key to saving money.  Here it is!  Always shop for teacup lots.  You will not only save money on the cups and saucers you will also save money on shipping.

Here are some recent finds:

-30 piece set of Grosvenor china teacups – $15.00 plus shipping

-4 cups set vintage pink and gold teacups set – $12 plus shipping

-23 vintage Royal Albert teacups. – $220 plus shipping (very collectible)


Click here and put teacup lot in search box.


Last but not least, you can always search for inexpensive teacup sets at garage sales, thrift stores and at

Tea Party Girl Asks: Where have you found teacups?  Leave a comment and share your strategy!

Dear Dawnya – How Do I Make Tea For A Large Group?

tea for a large group

Hi Readers-

It’s the beginning of the week and that means it is time for another Dear Dawnya post.  This week I answer a question that many of you may have wrestled with in the past.  How do you successfully make tea for a group and should you use teabags to do it?


Dear Dawnya,

I enjoy your website. It is very helpful.  I’m helping in the kitchen for a fund raiser for Adult Day Care organization in my community. I’ll be in charge of the tea making and serving (with help of course). There will be 120 guests. I know the group has water urns for tea that have not been used to brew coffee, but they want to use tea bags to make the tea, I assume in the urns. They will be serving both Earl Grey and Herbal teas.  For a 50 cup pot, how many tea bags to brew the Earl Grey for 120 guests? How long should the bags be brewed?

I would very much appreciate your advice.

Thank you,

Confused but Excited


Dear Confused but Excited,

Making tea for a large group is best done by creating and using a tea concentrate.  Your concentrate is made ahead of time and is poured into the pots that are then filled with boiling water.  The result is a mess free, consistent cup of tea for each and every guest.  If you plan to serve more than one tea you will need more than once concentrate made in advance.  Here is my personal recipe.  I share many more details of this process within my online course, Start A Tea


Tea Concentrate For Groups

25 servings = 1 qt water/ 1/2 cup loose tea or 25 bags

50 servings = 2 qt water/ 1 cup loose tea or 50 bags

100 servings = 1 gal water/ 2 cups loose tea or 100 bags

Make teabags w/ loose tea using large tea socks (can be ordered off of Amazon or purchased wholesale from

Bring water to a boil in a large pot and then remove from heat. Add the tea bags or the tea socks and steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove  the tea.  Let the tea cool and pour into pitchers and refrigerate.

This concentrate can be made up to 3 days in advance. Be sure to make it and test it before serving to a large gathering.

You can use the concentrate in the individual pots or in  large water urns which have NOT been used for coffee.

Using a 45 cup urn = 90 Tblsp or 5 1/2 cups of concentrate. Fill urn with water and heat, then add concentrate. If making ice tea, pour in cold water and concentrate in urn, add some ice. When serving, pour over ice in cups.

1 lb of tea should serve at least 200 people or more. The fresher the tea the better!


Enjoy your group gathering.  I know it will be a success!





Do you have additional ideas or questions?  Post them here in the comment section!




Yes, You Can Wear A Hat

wear a hat

wear a hat

Yes, You Can Wear a Hat

by Laurie Nienhaus


“The hat I was married in, will it do?
White, broad, fake flowers in a tiny array.
It’s old-fashioned, as stylish as a bedbug,
but it suits to die in something nostalgic.
Anne Sexton

As surely as we see sugar bowls on the tea table, we expect to see hats upon the heads of tea party guests. It’s not a requirement of course, but tea and millinery do share a long standing relationship.

“The hat is not for the street. It will never be democratized. But there are certain houses that one cannot enter without a hat. And one must always wear a hat when lunching with people whom one does not know well. One appears to one’s best advantage.” Coco Chanel

However, some find that relationship a strain, claiming they cannot possibly wear a hat – not any hat, ever. With all due respect, I can only reply, “Nonsense.”

There are really only two obstacles to standing in the way of chapeau bliss. First, hats naturally attract attention. Couple this with the different visual perspective our adorned head gives us and it’s easy feel self conscious or somehow not ourselves.

“I began wearing hats as a young lawyer because it helped me to establish my professional identity. Before that, whenever I was at a meeting, someone would ask me to get coffee.” Bella Abzug

If you can’t overcome this first obstacle, for which we can offer only emotional support, your hat will likely wear you rather than you wearing it. And, sooner or later the poor hat, through no fault of its own, will find itself sitting upon a folding table at a garage sale.

The second obstacle is the fact that most of us lack the DNA necessary for millinery savvy. But with the following principles as your guide, you’ll not only appear joyfully and completely put together, you’ll likely overcome the first obstacle on your own.

wear a hat


- Only little girls wear hats sitting further back on their heads. A grown woman wears her hat sitting down upon her forehead – roughly one finger’s width above the eyebrow.

- Always tilt your hat to one side or the other, especially if you’ve a round or square face. And, although the milliner may have envisioned the hat sitting a certain way upon the head, there’s no reason why some hats can’t be turned in another direction.

- As a hat sits so close to your skin, choose colors matching your skin tone. If you’re sallow, a yellow or pale green hat is not for you. Pale skinned women should consider warm colors. Women with very dark hair should steer away from black hats.

- If the color of your hat exactly matches your outfit, accessorize with a complementary color.

- Always try on a hat in natural light.

- Rather than using the small mirrors universally sitting upon shop counters, look at yourself in a full length mirror while trying on hats, preferably while wearing the clothing you’re buying the hat for.

- Bangs are best tucked into a hat.

- Tucking your hair behind your ears, in a ponytail or a chignon, usually improves a hat’s appeal.

- Because your hair is away from your face, consider earrings to complement the hat and your outfit.

wear a hat

- The top of a hat’s crown should be at least as wide as your cheekbones and the brim should never be wider than your shoulders.

- If you’re tall, consider wide brimmed hats and avoid small hats.

- If you’re short or have a small face, avoid large hats.

- If your face is long, consider wide brimmed hats and push the brim down further on your forehead. Narrow brims will only make your face appear longer.

- Wide brimmed hats balance curvy figures.

- Round or floppy brims make a round face appear even rounder. Instead, choose a hat with a high brim and/or an angular shape.

- If you have an oval shaped face, you can wear most any hat, no matter what its shape.

- As a rule of balance, the more skin you’re showing, the wider your hat’s brim can be.

- No white after Labor Day remains a steadfast rule for millinery.

- Generally speaking, hat size decreases as the day progresses. Miss Manners says, “If the hat looks like you built it, it may properly go to daytime functions; but if it looks as if it just landed in the hair (bits of netting, tiny feathers, sequins, etc.) it goes out at night.”

- Pairing a vintage hat with modern clothing can sometimes work but often only creates a mismatched silhouette. Consider carefully before venturing out into the wide world with that 40′s hat upon your head.

- One of the easiest ways to dramatically change a hat is to cover the crown. Tie a knot in each corner of a square scarf to “round it off.” Center the scarf over your hat’s crown and tuck the edges and knotted corners under. Let the edges drape and secure with a few hidden stitches.


“Hats have never at all been one of the vexing problems of my life,

but, indifferent as I am, these render me speechless. I should think a well-taught

and tasteful American milliner would go mad in England, and eventually hang herself

with bolts of green and scarlet ribbon — the favorite colour combination in Liverpool.”
Willa Cather

Laurie Nienhaus is an author, playwright and public speaker living on Fort Myers Beach, Florida. She is also the director of Gilded Lily Publishing and Beach Haus Productions. To learn more, visit

Teatime in London


teatime in london

Teatime in London Like The Natives – On The Top of A Double Decker Bus (while moving!)

The sun was partially shining through a range of menacing clouds in the distant sky.  “Welcome to London in winter,” I thought, wrapping my scarf an additional time around my neck.   We had just emerged from the underground tube station at Earl’s Court and were busily dragging our luggage behind us.  Over the years, I have gotten quite good at maneuvering luggage and today was no different.  I grasped my carry ons and hoisted them, up, up, up the six flight of stairs, into our tiny room.  “We are here.  Finally.”  I tore off my damp coat and kicked off my boots.  I was ready for a nap and then of course, a cup of tea.



If you search the web you will find dozens of articles about teatime in London.  Most focus on an elegant affair with three tiered trays in lavish hotels.  My post won’t talk about the Ritz, the Savoy or the Dorchester. (though I like all of those), today’s post is about teatime in London, native style.

From the moment you step foot in the U.K. you are surrounded with tea.  Hot tea is on every menu whether you are eating at a small Greek food stall or a traditional fish n chips galley.  Tea is on every menu but you may be surprised to note that tea is usually second to coffee, in nearly every food establishment.  Costa Coffee and Starbucks are located everywhere, and while they serve tea, coffee is their focus.  So how do the British drink tea? 

First off, the British drink tea, white!  That is, they drink a strong black tea with a good portion of milk on top, blended with a spoon with or without the addition of sugar.  If you do not want “white tea” you will have to let them know when you order.  Also, be aware that the tea is very strong and thus blended specifically for the addition of milk.  Drinking the tea without milk could curl your hair!


Secondly, the British drink tea from a bag and rarely use loose leaf.  You will probably be served Twinings or P.G. Tips.  In some cases, you might be served “Tea Pigs” an up and coming specialty tea brand served at a variety of Tesco’s throughout the city.  Tea Pigs offers higher quality tea in pyramid shaped bags and was a welcome change to Twinings.

Thirdly, the baked goods in London have improved immeasurably in the last few years.  I was pleased to be offered fresh baked scones, tea cakes and even donuts all over the city.  These treats provide a quick burst of energy after hours of walking in the rain and are a welcome accompaniment to a cup of white tea.

Food in London is astronomically expensive.   The average cup of tea will cost you approximately $3-$4 for a paper cup and a teabag.  Elegant hotel teas now range from $40-$99 per person so taking tea like the native’s has the distinct advantage of saving your wallet.

muffin man

Cream Tea – a small pot of tea and a scone or piece of cake is readily available after 2 pm for around $10.  I purchased a small bag of almonds and carried it in my pocket to add a bit of protein into my afternoon repose which worked quite well.

Here is a list of great places to grab an affordable and delicious Cream Tea in London.  Go Native!  Save money and savor the atmosphere of real life in this bustling city.

The Muffin Man Teashop


Museum of London

St Martin in the Fields


The National Gallery

Tesco Euphorium Bakery

Kensington Palace Orangery