POSTS BY MRSTEA

  • AFTERNOON TEA AT THE CELTIC MANOR

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: afternoon tea, Places I've been, places of interest

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    I was lucky enough to be invited for afternoon tea by my lovely friend, Mel. We’re both mums of two small children and so when she suggested a Monday afternoon get together involving tea and cake that would be just for us and not to share with any little ones, you can imagine how excited I was!

    Mel picked me up and we drove down the M4, chatting all the way about how nice it was to have an uninterrupted conversation and how much we were looking forward to an afternoon of sweet treats.

    Upon arrival we were taken to our seats, a great spot in the conservatory of the Olive Tree restaurant on the ground floor. It was a gloriously sunny day and we had a great view of the gardens and of people lazing around in their dressing gowns enjoying a spa day!

    When we were asked if we would like some Prosecco with our afternoon tea, we obviously said yes, and the fizz proved to be an excellent amuse bouche! Mel doesn’t drink tea (I know!) so she had a refreshing glass of orange juice and I enjoyed a pot of Darjeeling.

    When the tiered cake stand was brought over to our table, it was definitely a feast for the eyes. We were presented with crust-less finger sandwiches with a delicious range of fillings including coronation chicken, Hafod cheese and pickle, cucumber with lemon and mint mayo, honey roasted ham and wholegrain mustard and a mini brioche roll with egg mayo and cress. I liked the fact there were two of each, so no fighting over who got left with the cucumber one! Actually, I’m always pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy a cucumber sandwich as part of an afternoon tea, although it would never occur to me to make one at home for my lunch. I would definitely recommend the lemon and mint mayo for an extra boost of flavour.

    We moved onto the cakes quite quickly. I started my dessert course with the Jammie Dodger shortbread tartlet. It was amazing! I think Mel ‘s favourite was the raspberry and elderflower macaroon which she said was the right balance of sweet and chewy, to which I agreed! The strawberry and white chocolate mousse was tasty too, as was the pressed summer Pimm’s slice.

    The pace definitely slowed at this point as we had to sit back and rest between each mouthful. Sensing we were reaching the point we couldn’t eat or drink anymore, the waitress kindly offered to bring the scones out to us in a box we could take home.

    We left the restaurant with full tummies and a handbag full of scones, jam and cream which we were looking forward to sharing with our families when we got home. I think the doggy bag made us feel less guilty for indulging and we knew our little ones would appreciate a little treat too.

    I’m already looking forward to the next time I can enjoy some civilised cake eating and tea drinking…

    Thanks Mel – let’s do it again soon!

    We had the Summer Berry afternoon tea which is available until the end of September 2014. Menu here: http://www.celtic-manor.com/resort-afternoon-teas

  • TK MAXX – A BARGAIN BASEMENT

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Cardiff, Inspiration, Places I've been

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    I can’t seem to keep away from TK Maxx. In fact, I reckon I venture into that shop at least once a week and I’d urge you to do the same… There’s always something you’ll find that you won’t be able to resist. If, like me, you love a bargain, and even more so if it’s a bargain that no-one else is likely to have, then you can be sure to find some little treasures in the basement of TK Maxx.

    It’s my first port of call for presents – think quirky bakeware like moustache shaped cookie cutters, notebooks with pretty birds on the cover, retro-inspired cake tins – and my first port of call for lovely things to buy for my new home. Picture frames, lanterns and candles – you name it, they’ve got it.

    I’d love to hear about stuff you’ve magpied in TK Maxx too so let me know about any of your exciting finds.

  • SEW EXCITED!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Cardiff, Inspiration, places of interest

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    As we were enjoying a family dinner together on Monday evening, my lovely husband handed me a white envelope and a brown paper package tied with a stripy red and white ribbon.

    Intrigued and pleasantly surprised (it wasn’t my birthday or any special occasion), I opened them up to reveal I’d be starting a course at Venn Tailoring in Canton, Cardiff on February 14th. An early Valentiine’s Day present. How exciting!

    My mum bought me a sewing machine for Christmas a couple of years ago and since then I’ve built up a stash of fabric from projects I’ve planned to start, but have struggled to find the time to.

    I am ashamed to admit it but I studied A Level Textiles in sixth form but since then I’ve only accomplished a few minor projects as I’m still a little bit scared of the sewing machine. Especially threading the bobbin – it always seems to go wrong no matter which way I wind it and insert the case into the machine.

    Now a mother to a busy 18-month-old who loves joining in with anything I’m doing, I really value any time I can manage to myself. There never seems to be an ideal moment to get the machine out and start a project. Eating and sleeping seem to take priority most of the time!

    But this is about to change…Thanks to my darling husband (who’s probably heard me whine one too many times about not having any time to do anything anymore) I’m really looking forward to spending the next few Saturday mornings dedicating just a few hours reigniting my passion for all things fabric and sewing.

    For inspiration, he also bought me Cath Kidston’s Sewing Book which is jam-packed full of lovely projects including bags, decorations, kids’ toys and home decor, all designed to build your sewing techniques.

    The ‘Sew Your Own Project’ course is every Saturday for six weeks at Venn in Canton. The next challenge for me is deciding on just one thing I want to make….

  • CARDIFF INDOOR FLEA MARKET

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Cardiff, Inspiration, places of interest

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    I’ve just read about Cardiff Flea Market on We Are Cardiff and have decided it’s a must-visit this Christmas! I’m tempted by the late night opening this Thursday as there is mulled wine and music – it sounds brilliant. Saying that, I’m usually house-bound post 7pm with my one year old, so I’ll have to find some time on a weekend to stop by instead!

    The stall that immediately caught my eye from reading more about it was the Art of Vintage Souk – a beautiful looking collection of vintage inspired wares with a Moroccan theme. I went to Marrakesh with one of my best friends two years ago for a New Year break and we had so much fun wandering around the souks and looking at millions of lanterns, textiles and sparkly trinkets. Having a Moroccan-inspired rug in my new home would definitely brighten up the room and be a reminder of all the colours, textures and scents we experienced during our little holiday.

    When I get around to visiting the indoor flea market I’ll do a more detailed post about the other stalls I encounter there and if I’m really organised, share some pics of the highlights too.

     

     

  • TEA AND CAKE FOR A GOOD CAUSE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: afternoon tea, charity events, Events I've taken part in

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    I was recently approached to support two charity events in Cardiff, both with an afternoon tea theme.

    The first was run by the lovely team at Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales. The charity, based in Whitchurch, provides physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy to children in Wales who have cerebral palsy. Bobath organises regular afternoon teas throughout the year in Mumbles, Swansea and Cardiff.

    Caroline and Nia, the ladies who drive the charity’s fundraising, contacted me to ask if I could provide crockery for Bobath’s vintage afternoon tea held at St Andrew’s Church Hall in Roath.

    The hall was dressed with bunting, tables jam-packed with home-made tea and cake and the team organised music from forties saxophonists, a book stand, jewelry, handbags and a vintage shop. It sounds like it was a real success, raising lots of funds for a great cause.

    Another vintage afternoon tea event was held at Canton Community Hall in November to raise money for the neo-natal unit at the Heath Hospital in Cardiff. Organised by a mother who’s baby was looked after in the unit, the event raised more than £1,250 which was incredible. Her and a friend worked hard to organise a bouncy castle, children’s entertainment, a raffle and their friends and family baked cakes and served teas throughout the afternoon.

     

     

     

  • THE SEASON FOR STRAWBERRY TEA!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

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    Strawberries at this time of year are so delicious. I only really buy them in June as you can guarantee they will be sweet, juicy and HUGE! As part of the baby group my friend Rachael and I run, we have recently made the most of strawberry season by preparing two lovely strawberry teas for the mums and babies! My 11 month old daughter, Pearl, absolutely adores strawberries (and cake when I let her!) so she was in her element, munching away all afternoon. We used Mrs Tea’s vintage crockery too and it looked just the part, and despite being surrounded by babies and toddlers we had no breakages! I’ve posted a few pics on my facebook page – cue cute babies and messy faces!

  • LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN WILD…

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Inspiration, Uncategorized

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    Sorry for the radio silence, I’ve not updated my blog in a while. I hope it’s worth the wait though as Chloe from Pure Imagination has kindly given us a guide to planning your big day… Read on for more…

    Planning your big day can be a daunting task for any couple. Having to juggle budgets, decisions about music, colours, dress, suits, themes and food can be time consuming and stressful if you don’t know where to start. Chloe from Pure Imagination Wedding & Events Management gives us 10 reasons why hiring a wedding planner can help take the burden out of your big day…

    1) Budget
    Wedding planners are experienced and equipped with knowledge of the wedding industry. We are able to create a budget and stick to it, no sneaky costs the day before to ruin your beautiful day. We have access to exclusive discounts, know who to go to and who not to go to (!) and can help make your pennies go further. I worked with one couple who wanted a New York wedding cake for their big day. After being quoted £450 which was way over their budget I helped them find one that was just as good for just £199.

    2) Personal touch
    Wedding planners work with you personally, establishing a comfortable and trustworthy relationship which will ensure your wedding day is not just traditional and that it has more of a special personal meaning to you both. It’s the little details that count!

    3) Excellent Listeners
    The main part of a wedding planners’ job role is to listen, even if it is at 3 o’clock in the morning! We take on board all of your dreams, imagination and ideas and help turn them into reality in accordance with your budget.

    4) Mediation
    Any problems with regards to your wedding are no longer your problems, they are the wedding planners’ problems, and they will be dealt with in the most effective manner, leaving you to enjoy the run up to your big day.

    5) Venue
    Wedding planners will do all the hard work in finding the perfect venue for you according to your budget and ideas and even view the venues with you and contribute their expertise to help with your final decision.

    6) Flowers, DJ/Entertainment, Photography and Stationary
    These are the five key elements to the perfect wedding. A wedding planner will have a long list of the best in the business suitable to your wedding and will find everything you need to make your day as perfect as you imagined.

    7) Decorations
    Wedding décor can make or break a wedding. A wedding planner will ensure your theme and style stays on track as they are fully equipped with attention to detail and creativity to make your venue beautiful. This is the part of the wedding where you can save the most money whilst making your venue look fabulous.

    8) From engagement to honeymoon
    Wedding planners will be with you from the beginning to the end. We provide that extra special service and go the extra mile, not only can we create, design and manage your wedding day, we can organise your hen/stag parties and also your honeymoon!

    9) Touch of Imagination
    Pure Imagination creates unique weddings adding special touches to make your day even better than you imagined. A wedding planner can create the extra ‘wow’ factor for your wedding without exceeding your budget.

    10) Last but not least…
    Hiring a wedding planner allows you to actually enjoy not only your wedding day, but the time leading up to it as well.

    Pure Imagination is offering free consultations – contact pureimaginationevents@gmail.com or visit www.facebook.com/pureimaginationevents
    twitter: @pureimagevents or call Chloe Hobbs on 07881278481

  • BUBBLY IN A TEACUP?

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

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    On 19 December Mrs Tea will be supplying vintage cups and saucers for the launch of new bridal dress hire shop, To Have and To Hire! Run by the lovely Annie, the new retail space in Castle Arcade is where brides-to-be can rent a designer dress for their big day for a very reasonable price. The dresses are all beautiful – Jenny Packham, Vera Wang and Sassi Holford to name a few – which have all been worn and supplied by other brides. Winner! I’m very excited to be supplying the teacups for the shop’s official launch, particularly as they will be used to serve boozy bubbles!

  • IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY…

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Events I've taken part in

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    tea in the woods

    I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in an Autumn fashion shoot recently by Newport-based photographer Lisa-Jayne Meates. Lisa got in touch with me after finding my facebook page so naturally I was really excited when I received her message about what she had planned…

    I was selected alongside fashion designer Hayley Tresize (who happens to live and work in my delightful home town of Frome in Somerset!), cake-baker Bethan Watkins, make-up artist Eve Marie Parry, hair stylist Soph Smiff and models Rhiannon, Josephine, Hollie and Sophie.

    We met for the first time at Lisa’s house to get ready. I arrived with Baby Tea in tow and a bootful of flowers, vintage china and decorations for the shoot. Sophie was putting the finishing touches to the models’ Marie Antoinette style hair-dos as I got there and Hayley was selecting her outfits for the models. Each dress was an upcycled creation made from mens’ jackets or traditional fabrics – even Welsh costumes!

    After the final spritz of hairspray we made our way to Wentwood,  a beautiful woodland near Langstone. Lisa definitely picked the best time of year for the shoot as we drove through a tunnel of trees where the colours of the leaves were golden, russet and amber. We found a clearing which was the perfect spot and we set up an Autumn afternoon tea style picnic with bunting draped over branches and teacups hanging from the trees. The beautiful, hand crafted cake took centre-stage and the models were dressed to match the Autumn coloured sugar berries and leaves. A perfect picnic setting!

    After five or six styled shots with several costume changes (I didn’t envy the models having to do this in chilly November!) the light began to fade so we had to call it a day. The final shot we did was with Lisa’s own wedding dress which was just beautiful!

    The whole day was filmed by student videographer Dan Ridgeon.

    I was absolutely thrilled to be part of this collaborative shoot and it was great to meet other people in the creative industries.  I can’t wait to share the final shots, which I will be able to do soon. I’m told the pictures will appear in Your South Wales Wedding magazine so make sure you pick up a copy! A massive thank you to Lisa and the rest of the lovely team.

  • CONGRATULATIONS HANNAH AND HAYDN!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Events I've taken part in

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    Mrs Tea recently supplied crockery and bunting for a vintage-themed wedding at a local vineyard in south Wales. Here’s what lovely bride Hannah had to say…

    On a sunny late August day my boyfriend of nine years and I got married in a vineyard just outside Cowbridge in South Wales. 

    We wanted a relaxed and informal feel to the day and, with the ceremony taking place in a barn overlooking the vines and the after-party being held in a marquee in the next door field, we opted for a vintage country theme. 
     
    As the surroundings were so beautiful with expanses of vines, rolling Welsh hills and fresh flowers growing throughout the grounds we kept the decorations minimal sticking to the obligatory bunting, wicker hearts and tea lights in jam jars and waxed-paper bags. We chose a traditional style marquee with fairy lights twisted around the central wooden posts and guests sat at long trestle tables on wooden folding chairs.
     
    Table decorations were kept simple with white table cloths and country flowers placed in mis-matched jugs and vases. As a keen baker I chose to make favours for the guests and spent the weeks before the wedding making a variety of chocolate truffles and macaroons which were frozen until the day before the wedding. Keeping with the country style theme I was keen to lay these out on the tables in vintage crockery with the truffles piled into teacups and the macaroons placed on side plates. 
     
    I initially assumed that crockery and china of this kind would be easy and cheap to come by and a few months before the big day I started to visit local charity shops and jumble-sales. It turns out I was very wrong. The vast majority of crockery for sale was of the wrong style and design, and the odd suitable items that I did find turned out to be quite pricey. Despite only needing a relatively small number of items (one cup, saucer and side plate per table) I soon realised that sourcing the items myself was not going to be possible, unless I bought them all new and spent a small fortune on items I was only going to use once. This was when Mrs Tea came to the rescue!
     
    I had first come across her business at a local wedding fair which I attended with a friend. Hiring out vintage, country-style teacups, saucers, plates, bowls jugs and everything else you would need for a tea party (which she had sourced for her wedding) she had the perfect selection of items to choose from at a fraction of the price of buying them from charity shops, with the added bonus that I wouldn’t be left with crates of crockery to store after the wedding. 
     
    Having picked up a business card at the wedding fair I contacted Mrs Tea through Facebook to check availability and make arrangements. When I went to collect the items two weeks before the wedding she had laid everything out and left me to choose which pieces I wanted. When I realised that I was also in need of a few additional items such as some larger plates and cake knives she was more than happy to show me her selection of those too. The ability to choose from a wide selection of items for such a reasonable price was also invaluable at a time when I had a to-do list as long as my arm. 
     
    Laid out of the tables on the day, the crockery looked lovely and displayed the favours beautifully, tying in with the rest of table and the decorations perfectly. Many of the wedding guests commented on how lovely the items were and, for me, they really did complete the vintage country theme I was looking for. 
     
    I would certainly use Mrs Tea again for future occasions such as an afternoon tea, garden party or baby shower.