Why Britain is Great: Traditional English Tea Parties

I haven’t done one of these posts Why Britain is Great posts in a while, but I certainly haven’t forgotten about them… In fact, there’s more to come.

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.”

Doesn’t it just make you want to host your own tea party?

2012: Going for Gold

It’s 2012! Year of the Olympics for London. I was on the Southbank for the NYE 2011 celebrations where London spent £1million on a fireworks show to officially start the countdown to the Games. The show was spectacular and the atmosphere was jolly and cheerful. Fabulous.

Victoria Pendleton in Harper’s Bazaar UK Jan 2012

And now the countdown is being solidified in the beauty and fashion world too. Pantene has signed cyclist Victoria Pendleton as the face of its Pantene Pro-V Smooth & Sleek range for 2012, swimmer Keri-Anne Payne is the face of Max Factor’s False Lash Effect Gold mascara (not the waterproof version surprisingly) and Northern gold medal favourite Jessica Ennis has signed with Olay.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is my new girl crush. Wow!

The January Body Issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK also featured Victoria Pendleton alongside swimmer Francesca Halsall and heptathlete Louise Hazel in stunning couture gowns championing fitness as well as achievement and patriotism for the London Games. Noone is going to escape the build up over the next few months even if they aren’t a fan of sports. So I say we embrace it anyway! Let’s go London! Bring on the Glory!