A Look Back at the Platinum Jubilee

We’ve been celebrating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee for about four months now (and we’ve yet to do the one last thing on our list…plant a tree for the Jubilee!)…let’s take a look back at the fun we’ve had, starting with a special tea party on the date of her accession to the throne in February:

I found a fun craft that we did then, too:

The big events were just this past weekend. We went to a street party at The London Tea Room in St. Louis:

And I made a special, historic dinner to celebrate the historic event…coronation chicken:

For dessert, I made the lemon Swiss roll and amaretti trifle that was the winning entry in the Platinum Pudding Competition:

In some ways, although this event was more historic than 2012’s Diamond Jubilee, it felt more low-key. This was, of course, in part due to Her Majesty’s mobility issues causing her to miss many of the events…they just weren’t the same without her. And the absence of the Duke of Edinburgh was also keenly felt. But it was still a special celebration, with many touching and memorable moments (my favorites were the Paddington sketch, Prince Charles’ touching speech, the well-planned service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Cambridge children’s antics at the events, Mike Tindall wearing wife Zara’s hats, and Her Majesty’s balcony appearance following the pageant), and something I will always remember!

Tasty Tuesday–Platinum Pudding

I was intrigued when I head about the Platinum Pudding Competition in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. And when I learned that the recipe for the lemon Swiss roll and amaretti trifle, created by a copywriter named Jemma from Southport, was available for anybody to try to replicate, I knew I was going to have to give it a try!

This was probably the most labor-intensive dessert I’ve ever made. First I baked a Swiss roll, which was filled with homemade lemon curd. That was sliced and placed on the bottom of a trifle bowl, and covered with homemade St. Clement’s jelly (the scariest part of the whole process for me!). That was topped with a homemade custard, followed by the one part of the recipe I took a shortcut on. The custard was supposed to have a layer of amaretti biscuits on top, but I had to make a nut-free version, so I used store-bought gingersnaps instead. A chunky mandarin coulis was next (I don’t think I made that quite right, but it still tasted good!), followed by whipped cream, more crushed gingersnaps, and a jewelled white chocolate bark, which I also made.

It was so much fun to be able to participate in the Platinum Jubilee this way, and the recipe was as delicious as it was beautiful!

A Street Party for the Platinum Jubilee

How lucky am I that there was a place in St. Louis celebrating the Platinum Jubilee this weekend?!?

The party started with “God Save the Queen” (of course), and I was more than happy to sing along! After that, a piper played “Diu Regnare,” which was written by Stuart Liddell for the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee.

In addition to enjoying a cup of “Jubilee Tea” (an Earl Grey with extra citrus created by the London Tea Merchant for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012), we also sampled a scone with clotted cream and strawberry preserves:

We had the opportunity to watch some Scottish dancers:

There was a great festive atmosphere!

I spent a long time choosing just the right outfit (and hat!) for the event:

I’m so glad we had an opportunity to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee right here in St. Louis!

Vivat Regina Elizabetha!

Today is an historic occasion…the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Accession. And in honor of this monumental event, we of course had a tea party, which has been in the back of mind for ten years, ever since Turkey asked me during the Diamond Jubilee what the next one would be called and if we would celebrate it!

I made a lot of our old favorites, including an orange poppyseed cake and cucumber sandwiches. I also tried a few new things, including a ham and spinach quiche and white chocolate mousse. The tea of choice was as classic as The Queen herself…Earl Grey.

This rivaled the Christmas “pick out dinner” in its deliciousness!

Vivat Regina Elizabetha…Long Live Queen Elizabeth!!!

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

What We’re Watching–Documentaries and Other Educational Films

I have shared a lot of different reading lists over the years, so I thought it was about time I shared a different kind of list…this time of the documentaries and educational and fine arts films we’ve watched, either to coordinate with our school work, or to learn something entirely new! (I didn’t include Doctor Who, even though it was originally created as an educational program to teach history, but it is also something we regularly watch!)

Nature

The British Monarchy

Other British Documentaries

The Space Program

Ballet

Baseball

Miscellaneous (Including travel, fine arts, and American history.)

Animated Shows

Over the years, I have found it really helpful to have some trusted films covering various topics and suitable for different grade levels that we can watch to supplement what we’re learning in school, or to give me a break from teaching school on the rare occasion that I’m sick. A lot of the time, we even end up watching something from this list just for the fun of it in the evening or during the weekend! What educational films do you like to watch?

Queen and Castles

Her Majesty the Queen has celebrated two big events in the last year (becoming Britain’s longest-reigning monarch last September, and turning 90 today), and for both events, we’ve had a tea party to celebrate. Of course, I had to dress for the occasion, and so both times, I’ve worn the most appropriate item of clothing in my closet…my pink castles Jenny skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing. I’ve also added my replica pink flower brooch to the outfit both times…it’s very appropriate!

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There’s something about the combination of a gorgeous skirt and a happy event that makes these some of my favorite outfits ever!

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!

Royal Dressing

So, you may have heard that today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II surpassed Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. This is a big deal, and as is the case will any special occasion, I wanted to wear a special outfit. I deliberated a bit over my options. Jewelry was easy…my (fake) pearls and a replica of one of The Queen’s most famous brooches, the Williamson Diamond Brooch (although mine is set with Swarovski crystals instead of diamonds!). I considered wearing my Pinup Girl Clothing Amanda dress, as it is in the colors of not only the U.S. Flag, but also the Union Flag, but then I realized I had something even more perfect in my wardrobe for a day celebrating Her Majesty…my pink Jenny castle print skirt!

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I also had a moment seeing this outfit today. I’m overweight…that’s obvious. Pictures don’t lie. And so while I have nice clothes, and put together many nice outfits, usually I think to myself, “I would actually look pretty if…” and the end of that sentence has something to do with some amount of weight loss. But today, I looked at myself, and simply thought that I looked pretty. Period. No if, no when, no maybe somewhere down the line.

Now, I know there are people who would say that an overweight person can’t be pretty. Period. A daring few might even say it to my face (although I wouldn’t recommend it!). But they’re wrong. Women can look pretty, be beautiful even, at any weight. I’ve heard it said before, but I think maybe I didn’t truly believe, not about myself anyway, before today.

So, this was a monumental day for The Queen. There is no question about that…we witnessed history being made by Her Majesty. But, in a much smaller way, it was also a monumental day for me!