Now You Can Host a Tea Party and Delegate it, Too!

Tea Hostess

 

 

Let’s face it. Many of us already work really hard. And for some of us, hosting any kind of event sounds like a lot of work.

Even more of us, especially independent Americans, rarely delegate for a number of reasons. I struggle to delegate because frankly, it’s often “easier” to take care of the responsibilities myself than try to communicate with others what I really want them to do.

However, my mother, Anne Evans of Teaching Tea recently participated as ONE of the hostesses of a progressive tea, where the participants visited four homes in an afternoon for each of tea courses. What a great idea!! She graciously offered to share her experience with us.

Be sure to notice: The guests received a gift to take home at each stop! Wouldn’t you enjoy attending a tea like this?!

“Let’s put on a progressive tea,” a friend suggested to me recently. I liked the idea and soon found two other ladies willing to open their homes, set the table, and prepare one part of an afternoon tea. Only one of us had done anything like this previously, though we each really enjoy hosting.

First the four of us met together to plan. Our homes are only 15 minutes apart, so we allowed 45 minutes for each stop and 15 minutes travel time. We provided a map at each place giving directions to the next. One lady planned to seat guests in her shady yard. Two ladies had enough tables to seat the guests. One hostess used chairs and end tables through the main part of her home to augment the limited space at her dining table.

The tea day dawned. At the first house, the participants enjoyed a strawberry and greens salad, a simple pasta salad, and iced tea. The hostess had a guest book for signing and gave each lady a little nylon bag filled with dried lavender and rose petals as she departed.

At house two, the savories graced the kitchen counter. There were egg salad sandwiches on sprouted grain bread, broccoli spears dipped in seasoned mayonnaise and toasted, chopped walnuts. Also included were ham and chutney roll ups, open-faced cucumber sandwiches, and tiny pastry shells filled with artichoke spread and topped with shredded carrots. A caffeine-free herbal rooibos tea refreshed everyone and directions for making
tea along with some tea samples provided the parting favor.

House three served scones with jam, lemon curd, and clotted cream along with mango blackberry hot tea. White Jordon almonds in a handkerchief were tied with a pretty ribbon and given to each guest.

The fourth house hosted the sweets which were lemon squares, fresh fruit, and chocolates along with a creme brule` hot tea. The favor here was a little, cloth hat purchased at the Dollar Store. We each donned our hats as the hostess had arranged for her neighbor to pop over and take a group picture.

Everyone talked and laughed their way through the entire tea, learning new things about the whole wonderful affair of making friends with tea.

The four of us met a week later to savor our success and ponder any improvements for next time. We decided our only misstep was in not writing our phone numbers on the maps. One lady did need some intervention on directions and a number would have simplified that frustration for her.

So, if you’re not wanting to tackle a tea all alone, how about getting together with a couple of friends for a progressive tea? Start small and simple. You’ll be amazed how delighted your guests will be.

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?

 

How To Host A Downton Abbey Tea Party

Downton Abbey Tea Party

 

Downton Abbey Tea Party

 

Downton Abbey fans rejoice!  Season four is right around the corner. (January 5th 2014 in the U.S.)  You can celebrate the series by  hosting your own Downton Abbey Tea Party.  Here are a few suggestions but be sure to leave comments and share your own plans. (because I know many of you are already getting ready)

Theme:  Season 4 of Downton takes place in the early 1920′s (specifically 1922-1923).  This was the era of worldwide recovery.  The first world war was over and the youth who survived were ready to let their hair down, throw off tradition and change the world.  The easiest way to develop a tea party theme is to research the era in which your event happened.

Here are a few significant things that happened in the 1920′s Britain:

1. Women lecturers are given equal status as men at Oxford University.  This is a huge step in beginning to prove women’s equality in the workplace.  (Women had gained the right to vote in the UK in 1918.)

2. The Irish War of Independence ends in a bloody battle the day after the Irish Elections. (remember one of the main characters in Downton Abbey is Irish.)  This ongoing struggle continues for many years and results in a great loss of life.

3.  The British Broadcasting Service begins radio services in the U.K.  Touching the world is now as close as turning a dial on a new fangled radio.

4. Early 1922 is plagued by the flu epidemic claiming over 800 lives and terrifying the nation.

5.  In 1923 the Equal Rights act enables women as well as men to initiate divorce.  This opens the door for women to divorce their adulterous husbands for the first time in history.  Another sign that the times are a changing.

6. King Tut’s Tomb is unsealed and Britain is crazy about everything Egyptian!

7. In 1923 it becomes illegal to sell alcohol to minors under 18.

8.  The new Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, takes office.

 

The Downton Abbey story line connects all walks of life into one cohesive story.  Your guests may be interested to learn “inside secrets” regarding the world of Downton.  You can find a variety of trivia and games online.  Here are a few resources you might enjoy.

 Downton Abbey Tea Party

Trivia Games , Quotes and Activities:

Trivia – Downton Abbey

10 Little Known Downton Abbey Facts

Abbey Quiz

Downton Abbey Quotes

 

And if you REALLY can’t get enough of your favorite show and want to enjoy it all again, the full series is available on Amazon !

 Downton Abbey

Win your guests over by preparing an authentic Downton Abbey menu.

Downton Abbey Tea Party

Menu:

Food is always a center focus of the Downton Abbey program.  Win your guests over by preparing an authentic Downton Abbey menu.   May I suggest using the Ultimate Abbey Cooks Online resource.  This website has everything you need to know about Tea Party tradition along with historically correct recipes.

Here are a few of the foods I would recommend for your Downton Abbey Tea Party

Cucumber Sandwiches

Classic English Scones

Oatcakes

Victoria Sponge

Bakewell Tart

Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse

And what about tea?  I recommend using a hearty black tea that will stand up to the taste of every food.  British Bliss is available on Amazon and I highly recommend it for any Downton Abbey menu.  The hearty taste of Keemun will pair well with both sweet and savory dishes.

Downton-Abbey4

Give a Gift Of Favors:

The goal of every Downton Abbey Tea Party is to enjoy your common interest, discuss the great costumes, story lines and food and then depart with a little something special.  Pinterest is a veritable goldmine for party ideas.  Here are a couple of my favorite boards.

 

Downton Abbey Party Board

Party Ideas Board

 

In addition Etsy has alot of wonderful printables which could be used for party favors.  Here is a whole page of Downton Abbey tools, toys and gift ideas.

 

Etsy – Downton Abbey

Etsy – Downton Abbey Printable

 

Last but not least the CLOTHES:  Downton is all about looking fabulous!  Invite your guests to come dressed in their favorite ode to Downton.  This can be a full ensemble or a simple hat or headpiece.  Offer a prize for the best hat, best dress and most creative use of the Downton Abbey theme.  You will be amazed at the creativity of your guests.

DowntonAbbey2

 

Tea Party Girl Asks:  What are your Downton Abbey Tea Party Plans?  Share them below in our comment box or join in the conversation on Facebook.


 

 

Afternoon Tea Recipes For Fall

afternoon tea recipes

 

afternoon tea recipes

 

It’s fall once again. (how did that happen?)  Fall is the perfect time for cozy tea parties devoted to harvest related foods.  This post is dedicated to afternoon tea recipes that work with a simple fall tea party menu.  Below is my suggestion for an easy to follow menu.  In addition to the afternoon tea menu I give you full access to the afternoon tea recipes and suggestions on activities.  Pour yourself a cup of harvest tea and let’s dig in!

Menu Suggestions:

Tea Recommendations: British Bliss

Harvest House Salad with Gorgonzola

Classic Cream Scone with Apple Butter

Roasted Butternut Squash Tea Sandwiches

Pumpkin Pie Tarts

 

 

British Bliss Tea:

 

British Bliss by 10 Ten Living is a black Keemun that is a perfect companion to nearly all afternoon tea recipes.  The rich tea can be served straight or with milk or lemon depending on your guest preferences.  Want to add a little pizzaz during the dessert course?  Add some French Vanilla syrup to the tea served with the Pumpkin Pie tarts.  Yum.  You can buy British Bliss here.  Vanilla syrup is available here.  (sugar free is at this link)

 

Harvest House Salad with Gorgonzola

 

This is one unusual salad that will have your guests raving for days!  It combines the beauty of fall with the taste of fresh, crisp greens.  The recipe is available on the Taste of Home site (you will find the link HERE).  I would adapt this when using it for an afternoon tea recipe.  Here’s how:  First, if you are in a hurry you can find prepared beets in many areas at your produce section near lettuce.  Check it out.  Not everyone will have an hour to cook the beets prior to the gathering.  (it is pretty easy though).  Second, if you are not a fan of any one of the ingredients you can replace it with something else fall related.  Herbed Feta would be a great replacement for Gorgonzola.  Romain could replace Spring Salad.  Customize to your guests tastes! Third, this is a recipe for 6.  Don’t forget to cut it down if you are doing a tea for two!

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Tea Sandwiches

 

When I originally thought about this idea I decided to search Google for ideas.  I ran into a great recipe that combines roasted butternut with avocado and the recipe is a real winner.   The blog post (you will find link HERE) features a full size sandwich which I would adapt into tea sandwiches with a few simple changes.  First off, cut off the crusts of the bread before toasting.  Second, when creating the sandwich cut the bread (after you have filled it) in diagonal so that you get 4 small triangles.  Garnish and serve on the plate with your Harvest House salad.  You can place a triangle on each corner of the plate.  Super cute and super easy!

 

Classic Cream Scone with Apple Butter

There are a million recipes for cream scones.  Below I have included a step by step video I really like.  I also include how to make a simple apple butter in your crockpot (oh yah!).  If you don’t have time for either I recommend using Iveta scone mix available on Amazon (here).  Simply add cream.  Also, apple butter is available in a jar (click here)

 

Pumpkin Pie Tarts

 

Last but not least (and most important to afternoon tea) is dessert.  Today I am featuring an easy pumpkin pie tart.  Pumpkin can’t be beat in the harvest season but if you are like me, simple is best because I am very busy.  I was pleased to see that the blog, Spoonful, features a variation on one of my favorite crispy tart recipes.  You can find the recipe here.  Afternoon tea recipe adaptation: avoid cool whip when possible and use real heavy whipping cream.  The final taste will be so much better and your body will thank you.  If low calorie is a priority or there are dairy issues then stick to the cool whip. 

 

====

What are your favorite fall afternoon tea recipes?  Please share.

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?