Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Random BAKEs of Kindness

After reading a very inspiring blog post written by Vanessa Kimbell about a good baking deed she had done recently for the man who regularly cleans her car at the local car wash. She had baked a batch of her amazing cookies, put them in a tin and taken them down to give to him as a thank you for doing such a good job with a smile on his face, even in the cold weather and dark days. 

This put a smile on my face straight away, it was such a kind and generous thing to do, yet no bother for a baker if you enjoy baking for people. He hadn't asked or even hinted for her cookies, he was totally unaware and I can just imagine his huge beaming face even though I don't know the guy. I just love the idea of somebody doing something like that to me... a totally random act of... well... Baking kindness. 
(A girl can but dream ; ) 

Anyway, it inspired me to do something kind and offer my baking in a similar way. 

I baked a Victoria Sponge with my favourite Forest Berry Jam, which is always a delicious turn on the classic recipe. It always goes down well with my tea party guests, so always a winner if I need to make something for somebody unknown. 

I knew that the editor of a local magazine was trying to raise money with a bake sale in her office for her favourite charity, so I drove into Cambridge and dropped off my cake at reception for her to sell at her bake sale to help raise some money towards it. 

I received an email not long afterwards, thanking me and telling me that before it had even made it's way to her, it had been placed by the receptionist on the bake sale table and had all gone before she realised it was there... hehe. They must have enjoyed it. 

Since then I have been told that her sale raised over £300, so I am very proud to have helped raise just a tiny part of that for her chosen charity. 

Sometimes it's nice to bake for other people, but why not try it yourself?
.... Bake up an extra batch of today's baked goodies and turn them over to somebody unsuspecting to make their day.

I may even do it again, as it feels nice to do something that I would love to happen to me... It's nice to make somebody feel special, especially when it's done with cake : ) 

Miss Sue Flay 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Private Tea Party: Victory Curls & Afternoon Tea

Last weekend I hosted a private version of The Secluded Tea Party for a group of sophisticated Hens who travelled from Norwich to spend a lovely warm day in Cambridge with their lovely Bride-To-Be who had absolutely no idea where she was being taken, and every element of her day was a complete surprise. 

They were dressed beautifully for the occasion too, all in vintage dresses and Victory Curls to put my own hair to shame. It was Lovely : ) 

Her friends had arranged to take her punting on the River Cam that morning, and they were blessed with warm skies, and no clouds to be seen... However, as the day went on, it got a little darker and a little colder, and it made setting up their afternoon tea party a little trickier to decide what to do, seeing as the original plan was to have a table set up outside in the Glebe at the chosen venue, and enjoy an afternoon of Croquet and Badminton on the lovely lawn at one of my favourite Village locations. 

It started to look as though it might rain (And it did as soon as my guests arrived) so I made the right decision in setting up their lovely afternoon treats inside the lovely and traditionally British Village Hall with it's high vaulted ceiling, and lovely piano that I used as a focal point (As well as a champagne glass holder should they have brought their own bubbles... of which they did : ) 

The menu consisted of Sparkling Lemonade on arrival, a selection of Finger Sandwiches, Heart Shaped Fruit & Spice Scones, Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries and Lemon Curd Layer Cake, as well as Loose Leaf Tea served in individual Tea Pots for each of my guests. 

The table was set up with a new addition in the form of a beautiful scrolled Bird Cage that I had found on a quick pit-stop at one of my favourite shops on the way to the venue and I just couldn't resist -Hehe. I used it to hold my scones for this afternoon event, and it looked really nice, so I will be planning to use it again in the future. 

Needless to say, there was plenty of food, and half way through their afternoon, the hens decided to enjoy the sunshine that had come back out and take a relaxing walk around the adjacent church and grounds to get a bit of fresh air before coming back inside for seconds. 

It was a perfect and relaxing afternoon and as their personal hostess, I enjoyed catering for them to their own tastes and providing a custom tea party that they knew their Bride-To-Be would enjoy. 

Hopefully my first hosted event of many many to come.... And should you be keen to have your own tailor made Secluded Tea Party, just email: 

Why not use it as an excuse to be pampered or enjoy an afternoon away from what you know? 
Most of my venues are based in Cambridge and the beautiful surrounding countryside. 
Some guests have travelled from as far as London, Canterbury & Kent to escape for the day - Wow : )

The Secluded Tea Party is now a Tea Party Supplier for Tatty Bojangles Vintage Hen House, a directory of the best British and Vintage suppliers to help you create an amazing Hen Party! 

I have many venue ideas to choose from, or you could host a tea party in your own home or choice of venue, your ideas are very welcome. 

Kind regards, 

Miss Sue Flay 

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

REVIEW: Afternoon Tea at Hotel Du Vin

A rarity occurred very recently... Mister Flay took a DAY OFF! - Shocking ; ) 

As luck would have it, we were both going to not be working on a weekday, which is very unusual for us, so we certainly made the most of it and took a stroll into Cambridge for a wander in the Market Square and a slow amble along the backs, which is something we love doing if and when we get the chance to do so.
We even got a sneaky cocktail in whilst we were passing Browns - Somewhere else we have never been to before (Shameful being Cambridge born and bred!) and plan to return one day soon to eat.... Perhaps their burger for Misters' Blog?... Hmmm 

We decided to try Afternoon Tea at one of the newest hotels in Cambridge, Hotel Du Vin, as we had heard great reviews from friends and family on their bistro and cocktail bar and as soon as I found out that they offer Afternoon Tea between 2pm and 5pm daily... well.... I was on the phone like a shot and booking us a spot for that afternoon. 
The staff were friendly from the very start, by email and over the phone as well as when we arrived at the front desk. The young lady showed us to a lounge area and told us to take a seat and that somebody would be with us in a moment. The only niggle I would have with this experience was that when the waitress came to us, she handed us a menu and told us she would be back to take our order in a moment.... We had been expecting to be taken to the bistro, so we weren't settled as such and it threw us a little, as it felt more like a waiting area with other people sat around us with luggage/waiting to be shown to their bedrooms. It felt a little bizarre, but we sat back and got comfy on the sofa, which in the end was very peaceful once the guests had been taken away.  Now, had the staff told us this would be where we were eating, we would have been a little more prepared, instead of feeling a little confused for a moment hehe. 
Not the end of the world though. 
The entire process was relaxing and we weren't pushed or hurried along at all, that sofa was ours for as long as we wanted it. The lovely waitress took our tea order - Mister had a pot of Darjeeling and I ordered a Rose Tea and I was even offered Honey to go with it... Something that I have never been asked before and I got the mickey taken out of that comment when I whispered it to him after she left... I was just pleased to have a brand new first with my tea choice ; p 
It was a little too sweet for my personal liking with this particular blend, but a generous serving was given had I wanted more with my second cup, along with a pot of hot water to top up... a lot of thought goes into this particular menu and they go straight to the top of my ratings for this. 
The Afternoon Tea Tier that we chose included a selection of delicious freshly made sandwiches, including Salmon, Ham with a Mustard Mayonnaise, Cucumber & Cream Cheese and Egg & Cress. It was nice to have 4 different choices and they were generous fingers of bread too. 
We were given 3 different (And still warm from the oven) scones, including a Plain, a Fruit and a Cherry Scone served with Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam. There was also a selection of sweets underneath that tier including Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate-Drizzled Strawberries, a slice of Tea Loaf and a dreamy Chocolate Brownie (My personal favourite!

Needless to say, we didn't eat for the rest of the day! - The selection was bigger and tastier than my expectations had been and I loved the relaxed sofa dining experience, not as formal as most afternoon teas and if we made a mess, there was nobody to see us doing so 
- Not that we did of course ; )

 It was great fun and we would both highly recommend Hotel Du Vin for an informal, yet luxurious Afternoon Tea experience. 
Just take your time, do not come here in a rush, as it's just not the place to be so. 

The very sweet waiter who took our payment at the end even asked us what our plans were for the rest of the day, to which we replied that we would most likely be snoozing... and we did just that!

 It was the PERFECT day off and I am so glad we came here. 
Fantastic value for money, and not as expensive as I had imagined it might be, in fact I have been to pricier Afternoon Tea Venues and had an awful experience for the money. Go and try this Afternoon Tea, It will not disappoint. 


Miss Sue Flay 

Monday, 22 August 2011

NEW TEA PARTY DATES... Alice ... Xmas..... Vintage.... &..

It's finally settled, the calender for The Secluded Tea Party... Taking you right up to January 2012... Get the dates in your diary and contact me to reserve a place should you be keen to join in with the following planned Afternoon/Evening Tea Party Events.... So Exciting! x

SUNDAY 4TH SEPT 2011 -10am - 12.30pm
The Secluded (RADIO!) Tea Party 
- 6 Spaces Left
In partnership with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire... They will be attending this very first Mid-morning version of The Secluded Tea Party, so come and join Me and my guests for tea and cake a natter on the radio about all things tea and cake : ) 
MENU and BOOKING.. Click Here
Suggested Donation is just £12 Per Guest to include mid-morning Scones, Cake & Tea. Exciting!

SATURDAY 10TH SEPT 2011- 11am -5.30pm
** PRIVATE EVENT** - Contact Ruthie to Book:

"Writing Day" @ The Cambridge Art Salon

I will be joining The Salon and providing some delicious cakes as well as using the time to meet local writers and creatives whilst spending some *Me Time* to put pen to paper and make the most of this fantastic creative writing outlet.

FRIDAY 23RD SEPT 2011 -7pm - 9pm
The Secluded (FRENCH FANCY!) Tea Party 

- 9 Spaces Left

In partnership with my lovely friend and previous tea party guest, Cakes By Cat, we will be making and decorating beautiful and delicious French Fancy Cakes for you to enjoy with an evening version of afternoon tea.

MENU and BOOKING.. Click Here

Suggested Donation is £35 Per Guest to include Afternoon tea food & French Fancy Decorating Class. 

- Vintage Brunch Tea Party 10am - 12noon       - 8 Spaces Only 
- Vintage Afternoon Tea Party 3pm - 5pm          - 8 Spaces Only 
- Decadent Midnight Feast 9.30pm - Midnight  - 8 Spaces Only 

In agreement with the stunning Angel Adoree of The Vintage Patisserie, London, I will be planning an entire day of Tea Parties from a VERY Small and unique venue... for a one off event to please all guests who fancy a small & intimate get together with strangers over delicious Afternoon Treats being Inspired & freshly prepared from Angels' new and beautiful book titled "The Vintage Tea Party Book"

MENU and INFO coming soon - Email MSF to add your name to the guest list! 
Suggested Donation is £25 Per Guest. 

* NEW * SATURDAY 12TH NOV 2011 - PM (Time TBC)  
   TEA-RANTINO ! - An ode to the master of Cult Classics!
- 20 Spaces Available (Guests must be aged 18+)

In partnership with the Fantabulous Emily of Atomic Cupcakes, we will be bringing a second adult only version of The Secluded Tea Party, with an ode to the master of Cult Classics... of whom gets Miss Flays Heart pounding every time he releases them into the world... Mister Quentin Tarantino!

We will be hosting an evening of Tarantino-inspired cakes & sweet treats with an interactive table to get all guests talking, laughing and shrieking... (Hopefully of the slightly creeped out variety!) Haha. 

MENU and MORE INFO coming VERY soon - Email MSF to add your name to the guest list! 

Suggested Donation is £TBC - Per Guest (Approx. £25)

   The Secluded (VERY VINTAGE XMAS!) Tea Party
- 12 Spaces Available 

A very relaxed and seasonal version of The Secluded Tea Party, hosted in a beautiful Cambridgeshire Countryside village, within the building of a new Tea Party friend to Miss Sue Flay... One not to miss! 

MENU and MORE INFO coming VERY soon - Email MSF to add your name to the guest list! 

Suggested Donation is £TBC - Per Guest (Approx. £25)

 28TH JAN 2012- 
7pm - 11pm

- 20 Spaces Available

To celebrate the FIRST BIRTHDAY of The Secluded Tea Party, we will be celebrating in true Tea Party style and Miss Sue Flay will be hosting the holy grail of Tea parties, but with a murderous twist to proceedings... The Script has been written by her own fair hands, and this very interactive and creepy version of the delightful children's tea party will be sinful in more ways than one! The chosen venue to hold this event even has accommodation, so why not make a weekend of it if you dare!?.... More to come shortly.... We suggest putting it in your diary!
MENU and MORE INFO coming VERY soon - Email MSF to add your name to the guest list!
Suggested Donation is £TBC - Per Guest (Approx. £35)

The Secluded (WEDDING!) Tea Party 

Plus many more Afternoon Tea Parties to come.. Or why not book your own PRIVATE TEA PARTY? 

To find out more about any of the above or to book your own Tea Party,

email Miss Sue Flay

Sunday, 21 August 2011

French Fancy Decorating - Unique Event Coming September!

A few weeks back, myself and the lovely Lynn AKA Bakelady from The Secret Tea Room in Leeds met up in Ely for a cuppa and a piece of cake at Peacocks Tea Room next to the river. It was pleasant outside, so we got to enjoy the beautiful rose garden and I enjoyed the loveliest cup of tea - Rose & Marzipan, a refreshing blend matched perfectly to my taste. Followed by a brisk walk through the town and around the cathedral to burn off some sugar afterwards. It was a lovely way to spend a lazy morning after the zombie related tea party fun the evening before!

Myself and Lynn were catching up on all things underground and tea party related and I was talking through a new feature blog post with her (Which is coming very shortly - so keep an eye out!) where she will feature. It was great to talk about our plans for the future and what was and wasn't working in our plans. It's always great to catch up with her, she is so lovely and very knowledgeable on underground tea parties, having run her own for some time now. 

As a treat and to offer her a slightly more unusual afternoon activity, I took her to my new cake-y friends' house, Cat from Cakes By Cat in Ely, where we all sat and drank (more!) tea (Tea is a wondrous invention! hehe) and practiced making Fondant French Fancies for our up and coming collaboration in September.... 

...The Secluded (FRENCH FANCY!) Tea Party
 Friday 23rd September 2011 
at 7pm to 9.30pm...

You can book your tickets by clicking HERE
(Drop us an email when you have booked as we will keep you
 posted with the details nearer to the event)

Cats' Motto is "Make Cake, Drink Tea" ... What's not to love about that?!.... She is my ideal partner in crime! 

The kitchen smelled delicious as we whipped up fondant icing for the layer cakes (The different flavours in the cakes were heaven alone!... Strawberry Jam and Buttercream, even an Orange Liqueur filling in one of them, an experiment of Cats that was a winner with me : ) 
And we then chopped the square sponges up into smaller squares and had fun making lots of mess dipping them in different bowls to try out the consistency of different mixes. We finally found the right one for our future class and we managed to cover the table in the stuff... All part of the fun! Cat had also decided to cut hers out into circular shapes which actually looked just as nice as the square shapes... All pretty pink cakes and it didn't stop there!....

Whilst we were waiting for them to dry off, Cat taught us how to make pretty flowers to decorate the top of the cakes, with beautiful sugar craft techniques that even I could do... And if I can do it, anybody can, trust me! 

When we had finished, the three of us all had the prettiest little French Fancies and they looked so good I didn't want to destroy them, however after dropping Lynn off at the Train Station, I did stop off a couple of my family members en route home and share them so we didn't end up eating them at the Secluded tea Party HQ! 

So... Now to offer this fantastic activity alongside an evening version of my Tea Party for Just £35 donation per guest, with limited spaces, we have a few left should you want to join in this unique event. 

Come along and make new friends, bring along old friends and family or even your partner to come and drink tea and enjoy both Miss Sue Flays’ Home-made treats, as well as your own hand decorated pretties talked through and taught by Cat throughout the evening. 

This is going to be every cake lovers HEAVEN...!

Afternoon Tea a La Francaise:

Something Sparkling 
on arrival

Finger Sandwiches 

Lemon Madeleines, served with Rose Petal Jam

Chocolate Eclairs

Cake TBC

And not forgetting delicate layered French Fancies to eat and to take home with you,
Decorated beautifully by your own fair hands!

Unlimited Loose Leaf Tea served throughout the event by Miss Sue Flay to keep you from wilting : ) 




THE VENUE... At a Secluded Cambridgeshire location - Shhhh We can’t say where just yet or it will ruin the magic and suspense... You will find out nearer the time, so be sure to send over your email to keep in the know!

DRESS CODE... Dress comfortably and as relaxed as you wish.
Why not add a french flair or twist to your outfit, should you desire to enter into the spirit of the evening. 

If you need to contact us, you can email:

We look forward to welcoming you to this very exciting version of The Secluded Tea Party. 

Miss Sue Flay