Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tea Time Taboos Afternoon tea that is. You know, the kind that doesn't just consist of a cup of ones favourite brew, but the kind that requires cake, scones and pretty little sandwiches! I have always loved the idea of taking tea on the a true lady of the manor! I love cake, but above all else, I love pretty, dainty tea cups. I don't think I ever grew out of my toddler tea party phase. On second thought, maybe I'm still growing into it! Let's face it, whilst in the tiddler tea party stage, etiquette doesn't come into play as much! One only ever had to apply the 'pinkie ping', you know, little pinkie standing at attention whilst holding the tea cup in a very 'Mrs Hyacinth Bucket kind-of-a-way, oh, I beg your pardon, Mrs. 'Bouquet'...The 'pinkie ping' was quite posh enough! But, as an adult, and especially one residing in the lovely United Kingdom, one realises just how precise and involved a proper English tea party can be! I think that watching the Great British Bake-off every Tuesday is only taking this desire for baking and taking tea to another level. And yes, I watch it to learn how to has absolutely NOTHING to do with Mr Hollywood and his fine buns...ahem...I mean scones...his fine scones.


You might ask what exactly it is that I have learnt with regards to tea party etiquette. Well, I have been shown the correct way to eat a scone. Oh yes, there most definitely is a 'wrong' way, and a 'right' way. This all has to do with how you top your scone. Is it jam first, or cream? I've been told that one has to split one's scone in half, top each half with cream first, and not just any old cream, but clotted cream (no complaints here, apart from my trousers groaning as they now have to find an extra inch for my ever expanding waist!). After the cream, comes a dollop of strawberry jam. Oh, and no butter! (My trousers breathe a sigh of relief!) Having just said all that, I've done a little research. It all depends if you do your scones the Devonshire way as mentioned, or the traditional Cornish way. If the latter, then it's butter first, then jam, and lastly cream! Blimey...the Brits are confusing me now...Who would have thought that eating a scone could be such a contradictory minefield of do's and don'ts? What do you think?


This sort of brings me to my next point. I have learnt that I also shouldn't take every word literally at a tea party. Only in the English language can someone pay you a compliment by saying: 'Oh, this cake is awfully nice darling!' Hmmm...didn't quite now how to take this one. Is the cake awful, or is it nice? Turns out it means 'very nice'. Phew...if only you'd said so in the first place...Would have saved me the mini panic attack...

Now, I've learnt that tea tastes best served in fine bone china cups. No, really, apparently it does. I personally think it just looks nicer. And one should select a good leaf. This would obviously require a bit of knowledge on the types of tea available. Now I'm in trouble. I still don't know my Darjeeling from my Assam! I grew up in South Africa, and was bottle fed Rooibos tea, so this is always still my first choice. Don't dear mum wasn't being an irresponsible parent. Rooibos is caffeine free, and packed full of goodness! So, at my tea party you would be served a choice of Builder's, Rooibos, and if you're lucky, Earl Grey. The last one obviously because it sounds posh! What tea do you drink? My dear friend Heather opened her pantry cupboard to show me her selection of teas just the other day. I think she must have joined the UK Tea Council, who claims that there are around 1500 varieties of tea available today. I think she's got them all in her pantry! So, with this new found knowledge on tea, I'm gearing up for what I'm going to call the 'Most Terrific Tea Time Challenge'! I shall endeavour to try as many new types of tea as humanly possible! Watch this space!

Before I go and stick the kettle on, I'd like to share my latest thrifting bargain with you. As it's tea related, this would be an appropriate time to show you! I have a soft spot, no, a gooey, melt-in-the-middle kind of a soft spot for pretty china. I was tickled pink when I found a very spiffy, rosy tea set of six cups, saucers and cake plates, all in mint condition, and fine bone china to say the least, for a mere £3,50! Not a chip, crack or sign of china fatigue in sight! I can't wait to have a cup of Rooibos in these!

Oh so lovely...sigh...

Tea anyone?
One lump or two?
Yes, there are times when it's nice to fill up the tea pot, lay the table with fabulous tea time fancies, and have a proper grown-up afternoon soiree. But, equally, as we have learnt, it can be just as pleasant to have a pinkie pong party, one a little less fussy...
Dinky donuts from a box...
 Pastries from the supermarket...
 The most important ingredients: Warm hearts, sweet smiles...
 Thank you for staying a while! I hope you'll have an awfully nice week,  and may sweet, happy endings follow you wherever you go!
Tania ♥


  1. I do so love 'proper' afternoon tea. I'm afraid to say I do it the Cornish way but without the butter :) loving your pretty teacups!
    Victoria xx

  2. :) I'm so tickled to be mentioned on here, Lovely Lady!! Xx Though, I suppose I should fess up now...while shopping in P'boro this morning I went in TK Maxx...and two new tins of tea came home with me! Blackcurrant, raspberry & cinnamon AND peppermint, spearmint & strawberry. Drinking a cuppa of the latter right now. It's looooovely. Will have to share some with you! Love the new tea set -- it's gorgeous! I am in complete agreement about tea (and coffee!!) tasting better in a proper china cup! My great Oma also insists cream and sugar go in the cup before pouring the tea. Swears she could taste the difference...and oddly enough...I swear I can too!

  3. Tea for two,
    And two for tea.
    Me for you
    And you for me.....

    Oh, Tania! I had so much fun reading your post! How I love Keeping Up Appearances with good old Hyacinth! I have a special fondness for Daisy and Onslo.
    Do you have Constant Comment Tea in GB? It's my very favorite.
    How I would love to come to your darling home for tea, my sweet friend!
    Big hugs,
    Carolynn. xoxo

  4. I too grew up in South Africa but merely tolerate Rooibos tea - give me a nice strong cup or mug anytime but the mug has to be thin china for tea (it really does taste better)

    I love your set & the vintage feel.

    Dee at the Carlton


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