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.





    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.


    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. 

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

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    As you’ll know from reading through my website, I loved collecting lots of vintage china over two years in the run up to my wedding.  So when I decided to set up Mrs Tea, I thought a good way to start spreading the word was to exhibit at a wedding fair and meet other brides-to-be. A friend of mine, Cards by Cally, pointed me in the direction of South Wales Wedding Markets which immediately appealed to me. The ethos behind the fair is to help local, independent businesses who are often priced out of the larger wedding fairs.

    So, after sending off my booking form it was only a few weeks until the day arrived when I got to exhibit at my first wedding fair!  I practiced setting up my stall the night before and decided which items from my collection would be best to bring on the day.

    So hamper packed and cakes boxed up, we loaded up the car on the morning of the event and headed down to Coleg Morgannwg. I had some help setting up my stall from my husband Jamie who has a good creative eye. He then left me to it when the brides arrived! I was really pleased with how the stall looked and enjoyed recreating a look similar to the one I had at my own wedding.

    As well as chat to brides about plans for their big day, what I also enjoyed was getting the chance to meet other wedding suppliers. Hello Marilyn an event planner who arranges weddings, parties and corporate events, Jo from the Allergy Free Bakery who bakes the most delicious cupcakes, Beth from Forbesfield Flowers (whose stall was absolutely gorgeous with beautiful flower creations),  Perfection Planning who are based in Newport with an extensive range of wedding props and decorations, to name a few.

    I felt really inspired after spending the day at the wedding fair and since then I have set up my website and have thought about other events I may go to…

    The next South Wales Wedding Market is being held in July at The Wharf in Cardiff so I may stop by to say hello!