Friday, 9 September 2011

5 Rules To Making A Perfect Vintage Tea Party

Following on from yesterdays blog about how to make the everyday special I thought I would share with you my love of throwing tea parties. Most women (and maybe a few men) will remember throwing doll's tea parties as children. Lining up teddy and tiny tears and pouring orange squash into plastic beakers. I don't think I ever really grew out of this phase and as Ive grown older my love of a good tea party has only increased.
To my mind there are a few simple rules to the perfect tea party. These are my rules obviously so feel free to ignore them but to raise your daily cuppa up from the routine to the regal it s worth the extra effort.

Rule #1-Make A Proper Space
Whether its at the kitchen table, on the garden patio or even on a rug in your living room, clear all clutter away and create a beautiful clean space.
Time For Tea

Rule#2-Use A Table Cloth
Using a tablecloth helps lift this from the normal mug of tea and digestive experience to something with a little more cache. I really love old linen tablecloths and these are always for sale at car boot fairs and jumble sales. If you are really lucky you might find one which is hand embroidered. A great tip if you find a table cloth which is made of beautiful thick linen but is no longer a crisp white is to dye it a bright colour. I changed  a chewing gum grey table cloth into petal pink in the time it took to put a wash on using a machine dye from Dylon
Tablecloths Add A Little Extra

Rule#3-The Tea Must Be Made From Tea leaves And Made In A Pot
George Orwell famously said "There are 11 rules for perfect tea making, rules from which nobody should dare depart" Whilst I don't think I have 11 here are Betty Bee's rules for  a perfect cuppa.

Perfect Tea In My Spotty Teapot
  • Warm your teapot. Pour boiling water into your teapot and allow the pot to be warmed through. Then empty the pot. This means you wont be preparing tea in a cold pot which could lower the temperature of your tea while it brews.
  • Use one heaped teaspoon of good quality tea leaves for up to four people. Tealeaves offer a more intense flavour than teabags and seem to have a stronger smell as well.Use boiling water and allow to stand for a few minutes before stirring.Keep pot warm with a tea cosy
  • Pour your  milk into your teacup before you pour your tea, never after. There are various theories as to why this is best practice, some say its a throw back to the class system when putting milk in after pouring tea was considered a sign of being working class whilst other argue there is a scientific bias as in high temperatures, milk proteins begin to unfold and link together in clumps.All I know is that it tastes better when done this way around. 
  • Serve in china cups. Thin china seems to offer the best drinking experience whether its because the rims are more delicate so the sipping more enjoyable or just that it looks so pretty drinking out of china it really seems to add to the flavour.

    Rule#4-Serve cake or baked goods.
    Whether its just a packet of jaffa cakes or a lovely home made confection nothing goes better with a cup of tea than a slice of cake. If you have a cake stand that's even better. . Don't forget there are plenty of recipes on my blog which would be perfect for an afternoon tea party including my easy peasy strawberry shortcakes
    Fairy Cakes Compliment Tea Perfectly

    Rule#5-Fill a jug with some flowers out of the garden,invite your favourite people over and put the world to rights.
    Two For Tea

    That's my idea of a perfect tea party what's yours?


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    1. Love this! My granny always told us to warm the teapot first too, good to see the time old traditions are still carried on.

    2. I was always taught to put the milk in first because the cool milk in the china cup stopped the delicate china cracking when the hot tea was poured in.
      Just loved your pinky pink cakes!

      Vicky x

    3. Thanks Mum of all trades. Yes keeping the old traditions alive (and being a teabelly ha ha) x
      Angelsey Allsorts thats really interesting-perhaps thats the real reason its always been considered better to put milk in first, to save the cups.Those cakes were a doddle to make-they are a Nigella recipe from her Domestic goddess book x

    4. So cute! XO, Rae

    5. I love throwing tea parties!! I'm too terrified to use my good teacups though. My friends tend to drop things so I use really cheap cups when they come over (fine vintage china teacups are reserved just for me!).

    6. Thanks Rae-love your blog by the way.
      Kate I understand but I have so much china that I have some stuff Im not particuarly precious about. Im a terror for not being able to walk past a charity shop without walking out with a china cup so its slightly justifys my horrendous hoarding ha ha x

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    8. Oooh, I am in love with your tea party. I've never had one, despite owning a fairly impressive collection of vintage teacups. And yes, I have the same addiction, can't walk out of an antiques place withut a teacup or two. You've now inspired me, thank you Betty :-)

    9. Lovely post.What beautiful pictures. You little tea party guest is as cute as a cup cake!

    10. I love this. I collect vintage china and just wish my cake baking was up to scratch.
      I love little tea parties, and think the dyeing an old table cloth is a great idea.
      Love your rockabilly look, something I have a secret penchant for but could never pull off myself.
      What writing do you do out of interest? I am a freelance writer/mum too!
      Gem xx


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