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 Overstock.com

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

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.

Are You a Realistic Hostess?

tea party hostess

 

by Jenny Wells

 

You’ve been asked to host an event in your home. Maybe it’s a girl’s night out, direct sales party, or bridal shower. “We’ll take care of everything,” you’re told. “We just need a place.” And you think, “Great! I can do that. It should be a breeze.”

I have a question for you, Readers. Do you think this is realistic?

One of the reasons I have been unable to post to Tea Party Girl as often over the last few weeks is because I attended and helped host a number of events in real life. Each involved group efforts and I found myself asking this question off and on. Here’s my top three observations and it would be great to hear some of your perspectives in the comments below.

  • If you are hosting the event in your home people will use your bathroom, ask for your ice, and be afraid of your dog. In other words, there’s a certain level of prep, availability and clean-up that will be required of you. Unless you’ve hired a professional caterer, it is unrealistic to think that whomever is coming into your home to put on the event will remember everything and need nothing.
  • Because it is your home, you help set the tone. For various reasons, I assisted at two events in a row where at the beginning, everyone bunched together in a passageway and awkwardly stood around. It would have been a great help for the homeowner to direct people where to sit, turned on some music or even helped with quick glasses of ice water.
  • Someone has to be in the kitchen. Think of your warmest memories of events/gatherings that have taken place in homes. Whether it’s with friends or family, most likely someone spent a chunk of time in the kitchen. And they were relaxed about it. Maybe they poured you a glass of wine or cup of tea while you chatted with them from the breakfast bar. Usually the best home gatherings take place when the hostess is at ease sharing her role in the kitchen with others and conversations can happen while the food prep is taking place. If you are hosting an event in your home ask yourself how you can utilize your home’s center and heartbeat, the kitchen. If the kitchen is not a place you like to be, is it realistic to host events in your home?

Last Friday evening, my family and I experienced a home gathering that provided real refreshment for the guests. It was casual. People arrived at different times. Some were family, some were friends. The ages ranged from six-over sixty. Wine flowed, laughter erupted, and guests put their feet up. The kids swam and played basketball and hide-and-go-seek. Our hostess spent time in the kitchen making enchiladas and dishing up homemade ice cream. She seemed at ease with my husband constructing a huge salad for us all and her father’s wife making margaritas while her brother and I hung out in the kitchen discovering mutual friends and a fondness for classic literature. She even found time to sit and laugh with us on occasion.

But when all was said and done, she was the one who gathered up the abandoned drinks, discovered the muddy footprints in her guest bath from the numerous children, and swept under the table where we ate. I am guessing she and her husband didn’t calculate the financial cost, but willingly gave it. How I long to be a hostess like this to others.

So what do you think? What takes a home-based event from good to great? How much hinges on the hostess? Are you a realistic hostess?