Fabulously British! Tea Party Ingredients

As you will well know, Winchester Fashion Week is celebrating our Majesty’s Britannia with a Best of British theme. What better way than to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a summer tea party?

We have put together our very own tea party, using Winchester home grown products, the cutest china and we even scoured the high street for you to find fun, flirty dresses to go with the carefree celebrations.

The Queen celebrates her accession to the throne with an extended bank holiday weekend on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th of June, the weekend before Winchester Fashion Week kicks off. A great way to enjoy your extra time is to relax in the sun with a tall iced lemonade, a beautifully iced cupcake and your favourite people.

So where do you start with setting up your tea party? Firstly, if you want to make a proper occasion out of it, sending out invitations is a sure-fire way to get people excited. Paperchase, The Hambledon and Woodruffs all carry quirky, individual notecard ranges which would be perfect, or WHSmith carries the Jan Constantine range which would continue the patriotic theme.Now on to the vital ingredients of tea parties; the food and drink! Essential elements are finger sandwiches, sweets and cupcakes. Sweet Surrender supply a huge range of tantalising treats which look beautiful in pretty much any bowl you can find!

Montezuma’s also do a range of tasty treats, from truffles and chocolates to fudge; lovely bite-size creations that are elegant as well as extremely tasty! They have also launched a new range of Great British Pudding chocolate bars, and I can personally recommend the Apple Crumble flavour.

And as for cupcakes, if you are not much of a baker, Miss Nattie’s House of Cupcakes, a stall on the Winchester food market on Wednesdays, makes beautiful cupcakes and can even do giant cupcakes made to order.

All of the supermarkets seem to have picked up on the British love of tea parties and picnics and stock many a treat, but Waitrose seems to have cute and quirky down to a ‘t’! For refreshments at my perfect tea party, it has to be pink lemonade; home-made, from concentrate powder such as from Whittards of Chelsea’s, or with a twist such as Belvoir or Lorina lemonades which can be bought from Waitrose.

Setting up the tea party so that it looks fabulous is great fun! You can gather together whatever mix-matched china you have; your favourite cup and saucers, quirky plates and fine glasses, anything goes! If you want to expand your collection, Leaf and Bean cafe has beautiful china on sale, or any antique or collectibles shop could be a treasure trove waiting to be raided. Beautiful flowers look lovely as the centre piece and add happy, bright colours so that even if it is raining outside, your party can feel relaxed and summery.

Another key ingredient in any British tea party is bunting. If you are feeling ambitious, you can make it yourself either out of fabric or wallpaper cut-offs, such as my sister Jennie Symes makes. Or, for an equally low-cost and even easier solution, the Winchester arts and crafts market is always a great place to go. From vibrant patterns to pretty pastels, it’s all there! My favourite came from Bonny Boutique and combines the two.

The final ingredient? The dress! When you are putting the time and effort into the table looking beautiful, you want to dress the part as well. Pretty pastels and 1950s styles seem to go best with the tea party theme. Joules and Hobbs always have selections of beautifully fitted dresses in quality, on-trend fabrics, and right now I am loving this china-patterned blue dress from Joules, I would pair it with simple tan wedges, leather bag, and a cosy cardigan to wrap up in.













Or an alternative is to wear a relaxed skirt and blouse combo, such as this Jersey pleat skirt from Hobbes with a simple shirt or t-shirt. But, alas my budget is rather more limited, so I went with a vibrant Max C dress from ASOS.











Decorate the table with a pretty tablecloth or vintage doilies to pull it all together.

Then dig in and enjoy the feast!

words and images Bryony Symes

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