A Platinum Tea

For several years, I have been planning this Very Special Tea Party…one to celebrate the Platinum Wedding Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. We had the tea party on November 10th, because even I’m not crazy enough to try to pull off an event like this Thanksgiving Week, but I wanted to wait until today, their actual anniversary, to share it. I think this may be the prettiest tea party we have ever had!

I wanted to go with a platinum (silver) and white theme for the table. Our china fit the bill perfectly, and I was able to find an inexpensive silver tablecloth (which I’ve wanted for a long time, anyway), to use as a runner on top of our white tablecloth. I added seven candles, (including a pretty grey-colored Yankee Candle) one for each decade of their marriage, as our centerpiece. The addition of my wedding tiara and a double strand of “pearls” completed the look.

The tea of choice was about as classic as it gets: Earl Grey.

We had four kinds of finger sandwiches: roast beef with horseradish and arugula on white bread, coronation chicken on wheat, cucumber and cream cheese on cocktail rye, and heart-shaped lobster salad on wheat:

I added in a few other savory choices: deviled eggs and Red Leicester cheese.

And the sweets. Grape Jell-O, lemon cake slices, chocolate chip scones (in the shape of a double heart!), and the pièce de résistance, a biscuit cake made with McVitie’s Digestives.

Everything was so beautiful!

It was also a delicious meal!

I don’t know if this was our “best” tea party ever (although I do think it was the loveliest), but it may have been the one that was the most meaningful to me. I am so thankful for the beautiful example of Christian marriage and faithfulness The Queen and Prince Philip have modeled and made look so effortless through all of the changes of the last 70 years.

I will leave you with two quotes: One from Prince Philip in a letter he wrote shortly after the wedding, and the second from The Queen on the occasion of their Golden Wedding Anniversary:

“Lilibet is the only ‘thing’ in the world which is absolutely real to me and my ambition is to weld the two of us into a new combined existence that will not only be able to withstand the shocks directed at us but will also have a positive existence for the good.” Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.” Queen Elizabeth II

A Tea Party Celebrating Julie Andrews

All summer long, we’ve talked about having a day dedicated to a Julie Andrews’ movies marathon. And while we were talking about the movies we would watch, I realized it was the perfect opportunity to also have a tea party! Today was the big day, and it was a lot of fun!

We started with The Sound of Music. It was so easy to come up with ideas related to the movie (even without serving schnitzel with noodles or crisp apple strudel!). We had tea (of course) with jam and bread. We also had our favorite finger Jell-O… in the shapes of drops of golden sun, and snowflakes that stay on our noses and eyelashes (both Ladybug’s ideas)!

Next up were the two Eloise movies, where Julie Andrews again stars as a nanny. This one was a bit more challenging, in terms of specific ideas, although they do have afternoon tea in Eloise at the Plaza. Remember that bread I mentioned before? I decided to focus on the raisins that Eloise always orders for her turtle in the movies, and made cinnamon raisin bread.

After that was yet another Julie Andrews appearance as a nanny in Mary Poppins. We had “crumpets” (fine, English muffins), and of course a spoonful of sugar!

And finally, we ended our marathon with the two Princess Diaries movies, where Julie Andrews makes a rare appearance as something other than a nanny…instead, she’s Queen of Genovia! Of course we had to have the Genovian specialty, pears, (which also served as part of the table’s centerpiece), and string cheese!

To round out our tea party, we went back to where we started, with The Sound of Music, and our favorite things. Orange poppyseed cake, chocolate chip cookies, cheese straws, roltini, and cucumber sandwiches were all requested.

The table looked very nice, too!

This was an especially fun tea party to plan, and may have been my most creative one yet! I already have plans for another afternoon tea in a few months…stay tuned!

Happy and Glorious

Today was the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Of course we marked the occasion with a  tea party!

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We went with a dinnertime party again, which included four kinds of finger sandwiches (cucumber, lobster salad, gouda, and Volpi Rotola, a nice local touch), cheese straws, grape Jell-O, a lemon-lime pound cake, grapes, and everyone’s favorite chocolate chip scones. We also enjoyed one of my favorite teas, Darjeeling.

The table was decorated with yellow carnations and purple tea lights:

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Long may she reign!

“Long to Reign”–A Tea Party

In honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II surpassing Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch today, we had a tea party…the rare dinnertime tea party!

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The stars of the meal were the finger sandwiches…four different kinds! In addition to our favorite cucumber sandwiches on cocktail rye, we also had coronation chicken on very thinly sliced white sandwich bread, gouda cheese with garlic mayonnaise on a thinly sliced French baguette, and turkey and cranberry sauce on wheat bread:

We also had several sweets…Ryan even got us a Cadbury chocolate bar with the Royal Warrant on it! Our standard chocolate chip scones, in the shape of crowns (with strawberry jelly and whipped cream for those of us that think scones are too dry on their own):

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Grape finger Jell-O, also in the shape of crowns:

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Chocolate chip cookies:

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And an orange poppyseed cake:

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The tea of choice for our celebration was Darjeeling…I hear The Queen drinks this kind every morning!

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I thought the table looked very pretty in white, gold, and silver, with a few purple accents:

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Just for fun, after our meal, Ryan and I toasted The Queen. Vivat Regina Elizabetha!

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The Queen will never know about the party we had in her honor, but I put just as much effort into it as though she would be joining us, and we all enjoyed celebrating this monumental day “with” her!

A Tea for the Princess’s Birth Day

Back in 2013, when Prince George of Cambridge was born, we had a tea party to celebrate the birth of the future king. It was a lot of fun, and when we found out that the Duchess of Cambridge was expecting her second child, I promised the children that if it was a girl, we would have another tea party to celebrate. You can imagine how excited they were to learn that Princess Charlotte of Cambridge had been born over the weekend!

I tried to find as many pink foods as I could this time around, including crown-shaped sugar cookies and Jell-O jigglers, strawberry wafers, princess goldfish crackers, Ghirardelli raspberry chocolates, and even English Breakfast tea in a pink box. We also had crown-shaped chocolate chip scones, English muffins with strawberry preserves and mock Devonshire cream, cucumber sandwiches, and bacon, brie, and date mini muffins. In addition to our standard candles and flowers, we even had a Lego depiction of the royal family (courtesy of Bunny), in our centerpiece!

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The children said this was one of their favorite tea parties, and I was glad for the excuse to celebrate with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (even if they don’t know we’re rejoicing with them)!

An STL250 Tea Party

I know I’ve run pretty far afield of what constitutes afternoon tea, but I wanted to do something special for St. Louis’ 250th birthday. I decided to go with some famous St. Louis foods, and a lot of fleurs-de-lis to celebrate St. Louis’ French heritage. Our soundtrack for tea was also a nod to St. Louis: Chuck Berry’s The Great Twenty-Eight.

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The tea of choice for today was French Vanilla. It was the best I could do in tying it in to the theme somehow, just because it has the word “French” in the title. I did consider using the 1904 World’s Fair connection with iced tea, but it is November, after all!

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I made a Gooey Butter cake, which is one of St. Louis’ most well-known baked goods:

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And toasted ravioli, another St. Louis favorite:

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We also had provel cheese, a St. Louis anomaly that I actually kind of like, and Volpi Roltini, which is prosciutto wrapped around mozzarella, from the meat market on The Hill:

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I made finger Jell-O in the colors of the St. Louis city flag (red, yellow, and blue, although I ended up with a cool rainbow effect where the colors blended), and shaped like fleurs-de-lis:

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And our favorite chocolate chip scones, also shaped like fleurs-de-lis:

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We also had finger sandwiches, shaped like, you guessed it, fleurs-de-lis:

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This was a kind of challenging tea party, because the theme was so different, but it was also really fun finding another way to celebrate St. Louis’ birthday that’s also unique to our family!

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An Independence Day Tea Party

I’ve been wanting to have a semi-ironic Independence Day tea party for a few years now (you know, Boston Tea Party and all). I had a few ideas last month, so I decided that this would be the year!

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It worked out well, because our kitchen is decorated for this event all year:

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And I found some cute little star candles and acrylic stars at Michael’s to add to the centerpiece:IMG_8064

Since I already had red, white, and blue table linens, I only had to spend about $5 for a fully decorated, very festive table! (No china this time, because if there was ever a holiday where china doesn’t work, it’s the Fourth of July! I should have just used paper plates…)

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We had iced tea, to make sure our tea party had the proper American twist, plus lots of red, white, and blue, and stars. Blue and red jello stars, red, white and blue strawberries, marshmallow “firecrackers,” Stars and Stripes Funfetti cupcakes, blueberries, star-shaped sugar cookies in the colors of the flag, and white cheese on red and blue toothpicks were all on the menu:

I did make scones (star-shaped, of course), and served English muffins (with blueberry jelly), so it wasn’t completely American. Plus, have you ever noticed what color the Union flag is? Hard to tell what we’re celebrating! Again, semi-ironic, which was exactly what I was going for!

This was a particularly fun tea party to plan, and I’m glad I finally came up with ideas for a very American afternoon tea!