Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Welcome to the Tea Party


I’ve decided that if I don’t crack it as a novelist, I’m going to offer my services as a professional tea party organiser. I love it all: the baking of delicious goodies, choosing and arranging flowers, sourcing decorations, using objects I already own to prettify the room and table. It’s a silly lot of fluff really, but a ridiculous amount of fun. The Headmistress of the young ladies’ college I once attended would have been proud that I am finally putting my skills to good use. (I actually considered creating a category called “Entertaining” to describe this post, but managed to restrain myself for fear of sounding too much like a Fifties housewife.)

So this weekend, I hosted a baby shower for a friend who happens to be having a baby boy. I once attended a baby shower where the mother-to-be had to “apple-dip” for a chocolate bar floating in a child’s potty full of orange juice while her arms were tied behind her back. With that horror in mind, I did some research as to the kinds of things people do at baby showers, and these were three suggestions that cropped up:

* Squash different kinds of chocolate bars into disposable nappies and then pass around the room for people to sniff and guess which nappy holds which chocolate bar. The winner is the one with the most correct answers.

* Each person gets a jar of baby food and a plastic spoon. The winner is the person who can eat their jar the fastest.

* Divide into two teams and equip each team with a roll of loo paper. See which team can construct a nappy on one lucky individual without using glue, tape or pins.

Having digested these, I decided a tea party was in order. Something dignified, pleasant, with good things to eat, champagne for those who could, punch for those who couldn’t, lots of tea and coffee. No apple dipping or chocolate bars in sight.

Instead, there was bunting:


I am hysterical about bunting. I love it. I was quite sad when after a few days my family requested that I took the bunting down because it was “embarrassing”. I looked on Etsy and there are a few people making bunting, but there’s a big gap in the market for lots more of it. I would prefer to use it for children’s parties than the plastic rubbish I buy at the supermarket and then throw away after three hours.

Want a close-up? Here it is again:


There was cake:


Victoria sponge with lemon curd

Lots of it:


Lemon cake

My personal favourite, carrot cake muffins with marscapone icing:


Rose-scented macaroons:


And champagne:


There were also some savoury snacks brought by friends, because I like to focus on the sugar. However, when I have my fantasy tea-party company, there will also be cucumber sandwiches and very fine slices of rare roast beef.

Need any catering done?

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

35 thoughts on “Welcome to the Tea Party

  1. I definitely need catering – every day!

    Everything looks wonderful – and not a nappy in sight!

  2. Wow. That looks great.
    Did you sew that bunting yourself or find it? I could use some myself.
    And I’d love the recipe for the mascarpone frosting and the carrot cupcakes, if not all the recipes. I am always in search of the healthier (yet still good tasting) alternative to the carrot cake/ cream cheese frosting recipe. (And no crushed pineapples in the batter!).

    • G, I found the bunting, but am going to try and persuade my mother to make me some. I think it’s so pretty. As for the carrot cake, I will ping you the recipe. It is a German one, with lots of spices, and no crushed pineapples to speak of.

  3. That is wonderful! I have no skills in this area at all. I so admire it!

  4. Oh my goodness, that all looks so lovely!!! I’ll be right over – start baking!

  5. I’m all in favour of a dignified tea party with good things to eat and not a chocolate filled nappy in sight. Love the yellow duck on the cake too. When you set up shop I can contribute a mean line in cheese biscuits and marmite sandwiches as your non-sugar items. We’ve just done the birthday thing again today and they are the standard and ever popular stalwarts of the tea table, guaranteed to be finished off by the adults if the kids don’t manage to clear the plates first. I’d definitely have put in an order for your macaroons and carrot muffins if you had an intercontinental tea service operational!

  6. It all looks lovely 🙂 Speaking of the Fifties. have you watched Mad Men yet? I think I missed my decade. I should have been born in the Fifties.

  7. couldn’t see the pictures, but the baking sounds wonderful!

  8. That looks fantastic. I love tea parties! I have my great grandmother’s silver sugar cube tongs and a tiered cake stand I love to get out and use. But I’ll definitely pass on the nappy themed baby showers. How utterly ghastly…

  9. That all looks great! I definitely need someone to bake me some rose-scented macaroons.

  10. I am appalled by the suggestions you found. I’ve never heard of such things, but I guess I haven’t been to many baby showers. The tea party is much more dignified, what a lovely way to celebrate the upcoming birth of your friend’s child.

    I’d love to attend one of your tea parties, whatever the occassion. If only you weren’t on the other side of the globe.

  11. A tea party is such a delight! I experianced my first real “High Tea” in Windermere, Lake District, UK, it had all the trimmings, cucumber and salmon sandwiches, scones with cornish clotted cream and tea in silver teapots! A highlight of our trip! Your baking looks absolutely divine!

    • I’ve never made scones before, Natalian. My mother used to whip up batches of them when I was a kid, but I was always underwhelmed because they weren’t sweet enough. Now, however, it would be a different story.

  12. A tea party organiser! You are what the world has been waiting for. Those other suggestions for baby showers had me shivering in horror – who would do such a thing? By contrast, those cakes look incredible.

  13. Love the look of those cakes! Nothing like a decent tea party (with champagne…)

  14. What beautiful food! I love bunting too although I didn’t know the word for it until just now. A friend who made me a beautiful Happy Birthday bunting for my daughter’s bday.

  15. Vossberg has a charming bunting in a red check with tassels that sells for as little as 6 euros.

    • Thanks, my friend. What a great web site. Please feel free to send me other favourite deco sites – I tend to struggle to find pretty in this country. The bunting in the picture is gorgeous!

  16. Delightful tea party fare Charlotte. Please post the recipe for the carrot cake and
    marscapone icing!!

  17. The tea looks absolutely fabulous. I think you need to finish that book before you go truly mad! What is with that bunting? I am with your family on that.

  18. I want to come to one of your tea parties too. We don’t do enough of those sorts of formal events any more.

    I love lemon curd, Jim makes angel food cake and then splits it in four layers and uses the egg yolks he didn’t use for the angel food cake to make lemon curd and layers the cake with lemon curd. It is outstanding.

    I have seen those sorts of games and I find them disgusting. However, I was at a shower where one of the games we played was quite fun. The hostess progressed around the room with a ball of string. Without touching the pregnant mama, we were requested to cut off a piece of string we thought would be the girth of her stomach. The winner was the one who came closest to the actual length of string.

    Another game which is pretty fun is to put a bunch of small safety pins into an opaque jar along with a fairly large quantity of rice. The jar I encountered had about a cup of pins and about 3 cups of rice. The hostess times each contestant for 2 minutes as she is blindfolded and puts her hand into the jar and tries to pick out the safety pins. The winner is the person who finds the most pins. Separating the rice from the pins is surprisingly difficult to do.

    Neither of these games is particularly undignified or disgusting. I have encountered the chocolate bars on nappy game and I was absolutely horrible at it since I don’t eat “main stream” chocolate bars.

  19. Those home economic classes must have had some influence on us as I adore baking and equate it to therapy. Our farmers association has an annual show – the men showing their cattle and sheep and the “ladies” showing their preserves, baked goods, sewing etc (yes, these things do still happen in this world). I incurred the wrath of the “lady” who always won the baking section (she actually wins national competitions for baking and inventing new recipes) by winning the “Death by Chocolate” Cake section. She left early in a bit of a huff. I think what worried me the most about the whole episode was how proud I was to win a cake baking competition in a tiny farming community.

  20. Shudder – I also remember those stork parties with the bobbing Chocolate Log… probably the reason I don’t have kids!! Your party is SO much better & all the food looks fab 🙂

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