Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Oh my!.... I could not have asked for better weather for this seasonal Tea Party... the sun was shining and it had been so for days....  PERFECT weather for a Tea Party!
And so, The Secluded (EASTER!) Tea Party was held on, unusually, a Saturday afternoon for my largest group of guests yet, 19 guests to be precise! - It was nerve wracking! : ) 
This was to include 3 of my first ever mini Tea drinkers.... including my youngest guest of all, 7 month old Harriet, who enjoyed the cutest plastic beaker of Red Bush Tea to enjoy with her cake. Start them young I say! Bless her, she was as good as gold, as were the other two children, who made friends very quickly and enjoyed the Easter Egg Hunt that I had prepared for them. It was great to see such sweet and happy faces enjoying my afternoon! 
The venue itself was a tranquil and pretty village called Harlton, not far out of Cambridge, but a far enough sanctuary for my guests to enjoy my tasty treats in a very traditional Village Hall and a walk around this chocolate box village prior to being seated. 
Some of my guests had travelled from London and Colchester to visit, and enjoyed the location, so that was great feedback to have : )
My menu consisted of Home-baked Hot Cross Buns, served warm with a sweet Lemon Curd as well as my attempt at Martha Stewart's' Cheeky Chick Easter Cupcakes, a selection of sandwiches and the moist Guinness Loaf cake recipe, served with Wensleydale Cheese (Recipe Courtesy of the fabulous BakeLady)
 and to end, the rich and moist Chocolate Cake, thanks to Lorraine Pascale and her dribble-inducing BBC TV series! 
- Admitedly, it was so hot outside, that the chocolate decoration had started to melt before it had even left for the venue... So the kitkats that I used (Yes, Kitkats... I know... Not as glamourous as Cigarellos, however I used the resources I had access to at this time haha!)... started to melt a little, but I think it added to the charm.... Possibly.
I had also found some beautiful ribbon at a local shop in Cambridge, CallyCo... It read *Made with Love* which I thought would be a great touch to the masterpiece, so the Chocolate cake was wrapped with said ribbon. It was a better finish to this cake than expected!
The owner of the shop gave me a few ideas for this ribbon, so expect to see it again in other formats in the future : ) 
She also convinced me to purchase a new table cloth, which was very neutral in colour, and the perfect size for this venue, so it appeared on the Easter table too. I love it! A great investment!
I will also be sending in a photo to CallyCo to go up on their *Wall Of Fame*... check it out in the coming weeks if you pass by this fantastic shop of wonders! ; ) 
The most popular tea, was again the Rhubarb & Custard from Teaboxonline!... however their newest blend, The Cricketers Tea was also a popular and most-enjoyed choice today.. and some of the proceeds of this mix goes to  a great cause!...  So do try it out! It was very enjoyable, and a great tea to be enjoyed black or with a splash of milk. 
I also produced my own Easter Soundtrack, a mix of different music that I love and that I wanted my Easter guests to hear. 
I think it was perfect alongside the relaxed atmosphere, and my guests got on like a house on fire, with conversation flowing at every corner of the table. It's a great feeling when you get to hear that sound! : ) 

And after chatting with my guests, I have come away with some very inspiring ideas for the future, so thank you to all who had ideas to pass on!
All in all, a very satisfying outcome, and a very chilled out Tea Party... I loved every minute... even if my savoury starter didn't appear - No thanks to the cheese supplier who let me down without any contact prior to the tea party, and the cremating of the fall back Cheese Straws...DOH!....I guess there has to be SOME kitchen failures from time to time hehe!....


The Music Behind....

.... The Secluded (EASTER) Tea Party!

Some of my favourite tunes and anthems were included in this Tea Party mix,
all of which I felt went well together for this relaxed Saturday afternoon event with my 
19 Easter Tea Party guests.

And if they didn't hear them all... then here are a few links to my most favourite tracks : )
Well worth a listen! 
.....  I think so anyway! 
Stick your Earphones in, or turn your speakers up and give them a listen! 

One of these talented lovelies are in fact going to be playing LIVE at The Secluded (Vintage!) Tea Party in June!.... Can you guess who it is?!.... EXCITING!!!!

 Kate Garner - "Happy Go Lucky You"

Imelda May - "Meet You At The Moon"

 Lightspeed Champion - "Everyone I know Is Listening To Crunk"

 Lissie - "Record Collector"

David Bowie - "Heroes"

 Feist - "1234"

Angus & Julia Stone - " Big Jet Plane"

 Elton John - " Bennie And The Jets"

The Kinks - "Sunny Afternoon"

Husky Rescue - "City Lights"

Ray Lamontagne - "You Are The Best Thing"

 The Shins - "Caring Is Creepy"

If you have any favourite chilled out tunes... or maybe some awesome Indie, Opera or even Rock anthems that could be used... Anything at all!... For my themed Tea Parties... then please do suggest them! I am always looking to explore new music... and only know what I know.... So do educate me, should you have a golden oldie, or the perfect soundtrack to your life!.....I would LOVE to hear them!.... : )

Miss Sue Flay 
: )

Thursday, 21 April 2011


A few weeks ago, I blogged an offer not to be missed for any cake lover out there....

.... A proposal to give away one of my drool-inducing Victoria Sponges, Layered with beautifully piped Vanilla Buttercream and lashings of Locally made Forest Berry Preserve....It was the STAR of The Secluded Book Club Tea Party, and has got tongues wagging.... and that is just from the photos of the beastly cake hehe!....

....The catch? .... To trade me for something fun or exciting, that you feel would be worthy of my delicious cake!

Simple Catch, yet SO much fun to have read and received the handfuls of offers that came in, mostly by email for my birthday trade!....  Some of these items were things such as....
  • Vintage 3 Tier Cake Stand from @moinamac on Twitter!... They are so beautifully made!
  • Logo design by another Twitter friend of mine @munichbeer... Tempting... Very tempting!
  • Beautiful Shabby Chic Bag handmade by Lady Fenn at Trash Chic!... Check her out!
  • Jigsaw puzzle,Coffee & a Chat about Oils and Fats at Palazzo, Royston!Random! Love it!
  • 1 Month Membership with City Socialising!... I am joining regardless! What a fab site!
  • Gorgeous Bloom Earrings made by my lovely new Foodie Friend, Deepa at Lazy Giraffe!

It has been so exciting reading through these offers and ideas...and I am more than tempted to offer more than one cake to get a few of these LOVELY gifts haha!...So expect another trade off sometime soon!....

But, no!.... There must be only ONE trade off!..... And that Trade off was with a lovely lady called Tamsin, who emailed me to say that she had been following my blog ( I hadn't realised until her contact : ) and telling me that every baker needs a pair of good scales... Along with two photos of a lovely pair of retro scales that she had found whilst rummaging around in a vintage bric-a-brac shop in Bristol one day. Well!.... I fell in love, as I have been eyeing up a pair for some time, but the £70  price tag had been putting me off!... it was FATE! : )

She told me that she didn't need another set in her kitchen, as she already had a beautiful pair that had once belonged to her grandmother and that she would like to offer this set to the Secluded Tea Party HQ in exchange for my Birthday Cake, which would make a fantastic Birthday gift for her dear mother on 18th April!.... PLUS the offer of some beautiful tasting rosebud tea that she would let me sample..... It was the perfect Trade.. And the tea was amazing!... I LOVE Rose infused Tea more and more every time I try a new blend! And it goes VERY well with cake! Hehe 
Tamsins Mum also enjoyed her own birthday which makes me feel really good for helping a little!

Thank you so much to all of the offers that you made me for this trade.... Needless to say... I will be making another offer in the coming months... It was so exciting and I had a fantastic Birthday : )

Miss Sue Flay x

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Tis The Season.....To Eat Hot Cross buns!

...And seeing as I am about to make them for the upcoming Secluded (Easter!) Tea Party, I thought I had better try them out and practice...and I am glad I did! haha.

A very time consuming recipe, but WORTH the love and attention these little blighters need to make them tasty! Much much tastier than the shop bought version, and highly rated for an easter stress buster with all the kneading and bashing of the dough you get to do! I loved every minute of this recipe!.... A simple classic and very british tradition, thanks to the old Good Food Magazine for this!


  • vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup, gently heated, for glazing

    1. For the buns, sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into a large mixing bowl, then rub in the butter using your fingertips. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the sugar and lemon zest and yeast.
    2. Beat the egg and add to the flour with the tepid milk. Mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough.
    3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Carefully work the mixed dried fruit into the dough until well combined. Knead lightly for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
    4. Grease a large, warm mixing bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove.
    5. Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knock back the dough. Shape it into a ball again and return it to the bowl, then cover again with the tea towel and set aside for a further 30 minutes to rise.
    6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands. Cover the buns again with the tea towel and set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.
    7. Grease a baking tray with butter and transfer the buns to the tray. Wrap the tray with the buns on it loosely in greaseproof paper, then place inside a large polythene bag. Tie the end of the bag tightly so that no air can get in and set aside in a warm place for a further 40 minutes to rise.
    8. Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 8.
    9. Meanwhile, for the topping, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
    10. When the buns have risen, remove the polythene bag and the greaseproof paper. Spoon the flour mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
    11. Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the hot golden syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


The Secluded (EASTER!) Tea Party 

Unusually, this fully booked event is on a SATURDAY.... 
23rd April 2011 from 2pm to 4pm .....
.. It will also be a much larger table, with a much larger group of guests... So Exciting!


Something Sparkling on Arrival

Selection of Sandwiches:
Free Range Egg with Mayonnaise & Cress
Refreshing Cucumber with Black Pepper
Miss Sue Flay's Ham & Garlic Jam

Warm Home-Made Hot Cross Buns,
served with butter
& Home-made Lemon Curd

Chocolate Cigarello Cake filled with Easter Treats!

Guinness Tea Loaf, 
served with Wensleydale Cheese
Courtesy of Bakelady 

(A fellow Underground Tea Party Hostess! : )

Cheeky Spring-time Cupcakes.....a little surprise to put a smile on your face! ....


Selection of unlimited Loose Leaf teas served, courtesy of Teapigs and TeaBoxOnline amongst others!

Join Miss Sue Flay and her guests for an EASTER EDITION of The Secluded Tea Party!

- An afternoon of fun for all the family!...Come along and celebrate Easter in a fun and delicious way!!

The Venue ... At a secret location somewhere in Cambridgeshire.

This secret location will be revealed to my guests nearer to the time!

I look forward to seeing you soon!

Miss Sue Flay 


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Birthday in Brighton ... And other places!

SO SORRY for the lack of posting...I have just taken a well needed break away from my Laptop and I feel miles better for it!...All fresh faced and ready to make April a FANTASTIC month!

I have all sorts of things to share about my mini holiday!... There wasn't just one thing that was fantastic about my birthday celebrations this past week!..There were many! 
Too many to mention right now in fact!...Hehe.

So... To show you what I did get up to, I am going to share my favourite photos with you from my adventures in (A VERY SUNNY : ) Cambridge and Brighton, where I enjoyed a relaxing break with friends and family.... They will give you an insight into my favourite moments!

Home-made Scones using "Chocolat Chocolat" Dark Choc Buttons - Devine!

Mac Make-Up Lesson in Cambridge for my 50's Style Tea Party face!  

Life-Changing Cake (Apparently!) and Bathroom Artwork in The Marwood Cafe, Brighton!

Beautiful and Sunny Brighton Beach on my Birthday morning! : )  

Birthday breakfast at JB's American Diner with beach view!- Vanilla Milkshake an' all!  (Such a child!)

Graffiti on Brighton streets... Such a tourist! 

 A Cuppa in my lovely Birthday Teacup from the Sleaford 3! 

Brighton Beach... Relaxing both Day and Night!  

Weird Goings-on at "The Mesmerist" (Fantastic Pub/Chop House!) 

Afternoon Tea with 18 friends and family members and take away goodies at By Jove, Burwell.... PERFECT Sunday Afternoon!  

 The CUTEST Piglets at Burwash Manor Barns! I want one (And Not to eat!!)

Just a Huge and Cheesey THANK YOU to everybody involved in my few days off, I had such a nice break, I feel like I have been off for weeks! 


Monday, 4 April 2011


Seeing as it a short week this week for me hehe....and I am feeling more and more excited about my up and coming Birthday celebrations (The big day is this Saturday 9th April : ) ... I am off to Brighton to let my hair down for a few days with a lovely group of friends, amongst many other celebrations over the coming week!...So excited!

I have a one-off proposal...and there is a time limit to get your name in the draw!.....

I have decided to GIVE AWAY one of my big, light and fluffy Victoria Sponge Cakes....Layered with lashings and lashings of piped Vanilla Buttercream and a locally-made Forest Berry Preserve...COMPLETE WITH BIRTHDAY CANDLES! 
You could share it in your office...Or enjoy it with your friends and family... and I won't even judge you if you eat it by yourself hehe! ; )  


....It is one of my most delicious concoctions so far, and it was the piece de resistance at my latest Tea Party (Book Club Edition!)....It was a FANTASTIC Tea Party and my guests made it an event to remember!

If you would like to get your hands on this Amazing -Tasting Layer Cake...made by my own fair hands.... All you have to do is trade it for your own wares as YOUR Birthday gift to ME.... hehe

It could be ANYTHING from a Home-made gift or Birthday Card....Just your words of wisdom.... Treating me to a cup of tea and an interesting chat about all things Cake-y when I deliver your decadent cake!.... Or even exchanging your favourtie dish, cake or recipe that you would love to share with me in exchange for my moreish Vicky Sponge!!......

I am open to offers within this exchange...and the more FUN, LOOPY, THOUGHTFUL, CREATIVE or *OUTSIDE THE BOX* that your idea is....The more chance you will have to exchange your gift with my tasty birthday cake!

TO ENTER THE DRAW... all you need to do is either reply to this post with your proposal or send me an email to thesecludedteaparty@live.co.uk titled *BIRTHDAY CAKE TRADE OFF!* 

.... Couldn't be easier!

Be sure to tell me EXACTLY what you wish to trade with me...with as much detail as you are prepared to give me... (I won't ask for clarification, so make it clear : )


I CAN'T WAIT to see what I get to choose from to trade with my fellow bloggers and followers for my Birthday... I am excited already!

Let the offers commence!.....

Miss Sue Flay

PS- A HUGE Happy Birthday to all my fellow bloggers who will be celebrating their big day this week too!!


Today was FEEL GOOD Friday, but I wasn't really feeling very good!... 
Some mood-dampening news late this week had made Friday a very difficult day to try to feel good about..... However!....

... I did manage to feel very inspired after reading a fellow bloggers' latest post on Lemon Curd, along with a recipe that she was sharing with her followers...How could I resist?!

I went straight home, picking up some lovely free range eggs en route, and I stood in my kitchen and made this tasty and sweet treat by myself, with XFM playing loudly in the background hehe.... feeling my worries disappear for a short while...

I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.... From finely grating the lemons to pouring the thick, hot curd into a jar! It was 100% therapeutic, and it gave me a FANTASTIC idea for a mothers day cake, which we all sat around the table and enjoyed over a cuppa on Sunday!

I HIGHLY recommend this recipe, and if like me, you have been too scared to even think about making your own curd... then do it!... Simple and satisfying!
Sian... Thank you SO much for sharing this delicious recipe!

A winner in my books! 

Miss Sue Flay