Wednesday 26 December 2012

An Afternoon To Remember - The Perfect Afternoon Tea Party

Looking back at this year alone, I've had some amazing guests at my events and some even more amazing planners and organisers to work and plot with for some truly amazing private afternoon tea events for their friends and families, including baby showers, civilised hen parties, birthdays, Jubilee celebrations and many others besides. 
I even went with an honest blog post this year on the not-so-glamourous side of being an afternoon tea hostess, which I think shows you my behind the scenes stuff, whilst still having fun, no matter how hard it is hehe. 
But if I had to choose a favorite tea party to be involved in, which is hard as they have all been fantastic fun, don't get me wrong, but one of them feels like it was just the best part to play in somebody's celebrations and this would be it...

Debbie's Secluded Tea Party, which was held at one of my most favorite venues, Harlton Village Hall, for 40 of Debbie's dearest friends and family members.

I'm writing about this now and not just after it took place back in July, because it had such an effect on me that I wanted to end this year with an ode to this one particular Secluded Tea Party to see out 2012 deservedly.

Early this summer, I received an email from a lovely lady called Debbie who was looking to host an afternoon tea for her friends and family. I had presumed that this was a wedding anniversary, as her son and husband were supporting her with her plans and I happily nattered away with her over the phone about what cakes and treats she wanted at her event, down to the soundtrack she might want on on the background.
It didn't occur to me that this event was a totally different celebration to anything I had in fact been involved in before. Not until Debbie actually came to my Tea Tasting Event with the lovely ladies at Kandula Tea did she actually explain in detail.

Basically, she had just had a terrible year beating a nasty cancer and her treatment had worked, she was in remission and the Secluded Tea Party she had booked with myself was actually a huge thank you to her closest friends and family for their support throughout her treatment - I had no idea.
It was so important to Debbie to thank them and celebrate life with them, through the medium of tea and cake, I couldn't have suggested a better celebration myself haha. I was of course, honored to be helping plan such a special day for Debbie, starting to feel even more excited about the day than before.

On the menu, we decided on a refreshing cold & sparkling strawberry cordial on arrival, with tables laid out in four sets of ten to seat all of her lovely guests. It was a hot day, so windows were open and a nice breeze whistled through.

For savoury offerings, we went for cream cheese & cucumber pennies and egg mayonnaise & cress open-top finger sandwiches. Not forgetting warm cheese & mustard scones with herb butter, of which some of my guests (two very lovely and cheeky chappies in fact) even went for seconds of, they were such great fun to serve.

Said chaps were the husband and father of the lovely Debbie and they were hilarious guests, telling me they would only ever drink a good cup of PG tips, however, after convincing them to try a variation of their favorite brew, they came back to my little tea hatch time and time again to try every single tea I had to serve. They had completely changed their minds on loose leaf tea by the end of the afternoon, I was absolutely thrilled to have changed their minds on the great tea debate - I loved every minute of hosting this event, I genuinely had the biggest smile on my face all the way through it.

In fact, as everything including the tea menu was a surprise to Debbie's guests at this tea party, I also wanted to be able to surprise Debbie herself just ever so slightly. So I actually booked the beautiful and talented Grace-Sarah, who I had heard on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire a week or two before the event. Grace-Sarah won a competition at the Strawberry Fair this year and she is a beautiful singer & pianist, who worked perfectly singing some live music whilst our guests enjoyed tucking into their treats.

On the day, it was the surprise for Debbie that I had hoped for and she enjoyed the live music as much as the rest of her guests, I was pleased to be able to treat her as specially as she had treated her own guests. It was the least I could do, she deserved it : )

Tartlets with fresh raspberries & vanilla creme patisserie were also on the tables, as well as my raspberry or chocolate meringue kisses with lemon curd swirled whipped cream.
Debbie and I also decided that we would do the Kandula Tea ladies proud and show off our tea tasting skills to the guests here, allowing them all to try lots of different teas, it was an activity for them in itself and got people chatting.

The layer cakes on offer were discussed in depth between Debbie and I weeks prior to the event, ensuring that her favorite flavours were in there hehe. There was a cake per table, which allowed guests to move around on the day and chat to everybody as they circulated, ensuring they got to taste every single cake if they could get a chance - Debbie's son became a pro at this, I was massively impressed ; ) 
There was a choice of Coffee & Walnut cake, Carrot & Cinnamon cake, My Ritzy Salted Caramel cake and the soon-to-be famous Tuck Shop Cake (It's about to be in a new book for The Clandestine Cake Club, which can be pre-ordered 
on left hand side of this blog, exciting!)

I even served my delicious Chocolate Truffles with the Kandula Chai Tea as a separate course, which went down very well indeed.

Debbie gave a little thank you speech, which had everybody emotional and happy all at the same time and as cheesy as it may be to say this, it makes you realise just how important your friends and family are.

Debbie treated them precisely how she would want them to and how they would treat her back and it was a real eye opener. 
I genuinely felt honored to be a part of this very special celebration.

Here's to a very happy and healthy new year in 2013.

Miss Sue Flay

Please Note - I'm not paid or bribed to say these things, I review places of interest and items of my own accord, because I'm simply THAT geeky about tea and cake and all things in between. I pay for my own food, drink, services & products, I don't tell the establishment or suppliers what I'm doing, unless I enjoy it so much that I want to blog about it. I then simply ask their permission to do so and I chat to them about my experience to make them aware that I (and others) have enjoyed it : )
If you would like to discuss an independent review or blog write up on any of the subjects on my blog, please do email Miss Sue Flay: for a chat.


  1. Just wonderful... Here's to a happy and healthy new year to Debbie, her family and friends, and all of you xx

    1. It was such a lovely day, I had a blast helping out and can't wait to see Debbie & her family again in the future, they were lovely : )
      Miss Sue Flay x

    2. Dear Miss Sue Flay, I can't thank you enough for the wonderful afternoon that you created for me and 'Team Debbie.' It was one that I'm sure none of us will forget and you were the perfect hostess. They are a gorgeous bunch of people and you treated them all to the delightful afternoon tea that they so richly deserve. Grace Sarah was an inspiration and such a wonderful surprise for me - she plays and sings beautifully - providing the perfect accompaniment. Delicious food, delightful tea and darling people - I couldn't have asked for a better way to say 'Thank you' and it will always remain a very special afternoon for me.

    3. Dear Lina,
      Thank you for your kind wishes. A very happy and healthy New Year to you, too.

    4. Debbie, anytime : ) Here's to a healthy and very happy new year xxxx

  2. What a wonderful review. It was an honour to be there with Debbie and Miss Sue Flay - you did everyone proud:) x x Annie

    1. Thanks so much Annie, I am glad I could be of service xx