Last week, I attended an event for the launch of Royal Albert, a fabulous new range of teapots and cups and little sandwich plates (don’t get me started on the cake stands- devine!). I was chatting to the lovely Sarah from Royal Albert and we got to chatting about this upsurge in tea parties and knitting and pretty tea dresses over the past couple of years. Even manicures are becoming very ladylike this season. And doesn’t everyone have a “Keep Calm and… Something” piece of merchandise? (…I do!)
One of my friends recently had a birthday party that involved afternoon tea and lots of lovely mini snacks. Cupcakes came back with a vengeance a few years ago – try and keep me away from The Hummingbird Bakery…). But the rage now is mini Victoria sponges, macaroons, scones and fruit tarts. Bridget Jones’ mother would be thrilled – everything English in miniature!
I do love an English Afternoon Tea. It is one of the many things that I’ve been thrilled to embrace about being British and coming home to England. In my time living in Spain and Costa Rica, I tried to turn people on to drinking tea all day long. But, alas that was a lost cause, especially in Costa Rica. Try telling a country of people who quite literally live on coffee and coffee production – even as far as dropping a bit in babies’ bottles (as it will do them no harm) – to try a bit of English Breakfast and it doesn’t go down well.
I’m quite excited about this resurge in quintessential Englishness. It really came about with the announcement of the Royal Wedding and with the London 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, it is unlikely to die down anytime soon. As I mentioned in a previous post, I really enjoyed showing my friend from Poland around Lincoln. We enjoyed tea and scones in a tea room and it was such a pleasant experience to rediscover my own heritage and see someone else having such a fabulous time.
This event was a lot of fun. The Royal Albert range from Royal Doulton is 100 years old and the new tea range to celebrate is held exclusively at Liberty’s. There was a lovely afternoon tea with fresh juice, tea and champagne to choose from and very polite and helpful staff behind the table. It went beautifully with collection. The product displays are equally as beautiful. I love the little messages on the tea cups, like the one below: “It epitomises English eccentricity.”
Here are some observations that I have noted:
- Pimm’s is an acceptable daytime drink – at any time of day.
- Yes, people really do still play croquet.
- You will still need to cover up in the evening. It may be summer, but it is still England!
- Trains are very expensive. Planes are even more so.
- The theatre is still a wonderful London tradition attracting all ages.
- Men still aren’t interested in Legally Blonde, even when you put it to music. In fact, especially when you put it to music.
- I still secretly wish that I was Elle Woods.
- The British government probably do sit around drinking whiskey and wondering what to do about the foreign minister’s request of a young friend, instead of focusing on the bigger picture.
- Yorkshire folk will make jokes all day long even when they know it isn’t funny themselves (see title of this post!)
- A pub quiz is secretly shockingly competitive even if you all say “Oh, well” when you don’t know the answer to the 5th question in a row.
- British people have an amazing ability to let people off a train whilst at all times moving forwards!
- Portobello Road is one of best places to pass the day.
- I really would quite like to live in Notting Hill one day.
- Wills and Kate are still the best thing since sliced bread (except maybe for Pippa’s bum, which people are still talking about).
- Everybody has suddenly realised how much they loved Amy Winehouse. Young and old alike are mourning the loss of a great talent whilst ironically listening to ‘Rehab’ on repeat.
I have much more detailed accounts coming for all of you but this is just a taster of what is to come.
I spent the festive season at home and by ‘at home’, I mean in England, because we actually spent Christmas in a pretty country cottage in Suffolk, not Lincolnshire where my house is. It was so nice to do something different this year and really enjoy family time with board games, festive TV and too much food! We even got a real tree, which we have never really done before and had to chop it because it was too big for the room!
The story happens in a make-believe place called Modelland – every girl in the world wants to go there because it’s where “Intoxibellas”are trained. Intoxibellas are drop-dead beautiful, kick-butt fierce and, yeah, maybe they have some powers too. (But I’m confirming NOTHING! Ha. You gotta wait for the book.) The story follows a teen girl and her friends who find themselves magically transported to Modelland, even though they’re really not supposed to be there. (Okay, now, that’s ALL I’m saying!)