Monday, 31 October 2011

The Secluded Blogfest - Updated

Having a passion for reading and following some fantastically written blogs as well as blogging myself about my own food and cake exploits over the last year or so, I am always finding myself talking to people about the world of blogging when getting into conversations about most things lately! 

And so ....

The Secluded Tea Party's 
first ever BLOGFEST 
..... has been dreamt up and is finally ready to go!

Saturday 19th November 2011
10am - 2pm

To Book Your Ticket Click Here


At a secret leisurely location somewhere approx. 7 miles from Cambridge City Centre.....
Address emailed to you a few days prior to the event to get you really excited!...
Limited seats for this very relaxed and informal blogging event, you are given the opportunity to meet VERY SPECIAL GUESTS to talk to you about blogging and tell you all their stories, ideas, tips and thoughts on the world of blogging and social networking. 

As well as giving you the chance to bring your laptops along and make use of the WIFI access at my top secret country hide out to write a blog posttweet and facebook your friends & followers live from the event or if you are new to blogging even get started with your first blog using the expertise around you. Why not even get snap happy with your cameras in this inspiring countryside location? ....
Not only using my special guests as inspiration, but using your fellow guests to chat to and help get you excited about blogging, whatever point you are at in the blogging world : )  


10am - Arrival & Welcome 
(A chance to network & meet your fellow bloggers)

10.15am - Guest Speaker - "The Power Of Marketing Through Social Media" 
with Mel Hollidge of Wired2Create
With 15 years marketing, design and journalistic experience, Mel is the Social Media Guru of Cambridge with a passion for networking both online as well as though local networking groups. 
She will be here to help you set up your new blog and help with any existing blogs and technical help you may need, as well as talking about her passions in the blogging world and will give you her best advice & experience on how to optimise your marketing through social media.

10.45am - Guest Speaker - "Individuality" 
with Liz Fraser, BBC Radio & TV Presenter and Fabulous blog-writer.
Liz Fraser is a new friend to The Secluded Tea Party and is a best-selling author of three hilarious books about the realities of being a mum and raising children, as well as being a fantastic TV parenting commentatorShe will be at this event to talk about finding your own VOICE and making it YOURS, rather than a copy of other blogs. As a writer, she feels very passionate about this topic and she will be here throughout the day to give you her input and advice on your own blogs and ideas. 

11.15am - Tea, Coffee & Selection of Home made treats
by myself, Miss Sue Flay.... Mmmm Sugar fix hehe!

11.30am - Guest Speaker - "How My Blog Changed My Life"
with ReeRee Rockette of Rockalily Lipsticks.
ReeRee Rockette is a blogger, creator of "Wonderful Women: Minding Our Own Business" a support network for creative women in business as well as being the owner of Rockalily Makeup in London. She will be at The Secluded Blogfest in Cambridge to inspire all guests with the story of how blogging transformed her life, as well as offering advice & tips on making your blog it's own brand, and rules when you are blogging (And which you can break)!
ReeRee has interviewed some very inspiring business women such as Hayley Southwood at Vintage Scoops Ice Cream, Bernie Dexter, Tara Starlet and Kat Williams of Rock N Roll Bride. 
You can see my favourite blog post of ReeRee's, titled "Creating The Life You Want" which was the post that made me realise she was a blogger to follow and inspired me personally. 

12 Noon - Guest Speaker - "How to Write a Good Review"
with Sian Townsend of Jam Jar PR
Announcing a surprise guest speaker... My very good Tea Party friend, and creator of the fabulous Secluded Blogfest Posters that you may have seen in many locations across Cambridgeshire... the Lovely Sian Townsend, blogger behind Bone White China
Sian came to the VERY FIRST Secluded Tea Party back in January whilst also working for local publication, Cambridge Agenda Magazine. She followed up with a fabulous write up on my events and our friendship and love of good foodie places to try together grew from there. She writes her own food blog as well as running a PR company from home and when she isn’t doing any of this she enjoys walking her beautiful puppy, Henry who is the most adorable thing you have ever seen.  

12.30pm - Time to Network, Blog and attend The Secluded Blogfest workshop. 
Use our Social Media Guru, Mel and the Lovely ReeRee Rockette's & Liz Fraser's advice to help set up a blog, get the most out of your existing blog and to get (re-)inspired. 

1.30pm - Tea, Coffee & Cake with a chance to network & use the locations leisure facilities for the rest of the afternoon - Bliss! 

Recently I have found that I am meeting two kinds of people on my travels and adventures....

1. The fellow bloggerwho loves sitting down and tweeting, facebooking, instagramming (Is that even a word?!) and blogging about the new pair of shoes they are strutting around in their office today, or the piece of cake they are drooling over in the coffee shop queue, or the wonderful meal they have been cooking and enjoying with a loved one (Even if said loved one is putting thumbs up or flipping the bird in the background because they are getting annoyed with you papping yet another piece of well cooked steak on your plate to show the world! - And yes, the world and it's wife does sit and look at these photos hehe... me included ; ) 
Blogging is a fun and important part of this persons life, and they are making friends and expanding their network through this big white box fueled with their personal stories and photos. It's such a simple thing, but an exciting part of their followers day. 

2. The Wannabe bloggerwho keeps hearing how wonderful the blogging world is and how easy it is to get started once you have that idea or seed to start growing it and waffling with the rest of the blogging world. This wannabe blogger just hasn't yet found the time to get around to writing their first post, or perhaps just doesn't think they have the technical expertise to be able to start a blog let alone maintain one. I can tell you honestly now, Mr or Miss Wannabe Blogger.... Not many of us DO know much of the technical stuff... most of us just decided to give it a go, we got it started and learnt from each other as we went along hehe. And once you find one brilliant blog to follow, you find a link to a new one, and then another, and another..... And soon you are hooked. 


Why not take advantage of this fantastic day of blog-related plans and enjoy a very tranquil and peaceful countryside venue, which even offers you the chance to spend the rest of the afternoon using it's sports and leisure facilities to energise or continue relaxing should you desire.

This event is open to everybody, no matter if you are a blog writer or reader... It will be inspirational to anybody, whatever their blog interests or favored subject : )  

To Book Your Ticket Click Here

The first Secluded Blogfest is just £30 per person to include all workshops, talks, cake and refreshments.

I hope to see you at this very special Secluded event!

Miss Sue Flay 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

A Midnight Feast Tea Party with "The Vintage Tea Party Book"

The Secluded Midnight Feast was hosted at my very own Tea Party mansion in sunny Cambourne in Cambridgeshire, an Afternoon Tea with a unique difference… It was held in the evening, as (believe it or not!) a midnight feast tea party.

With the permission of the fabulous Angel Adoree of The Vintage Patisserie in London, she allowed me to bake some of her stunning recipes from her new book, simply titled “The Vintage Tea Party Book”.
In no way was I asked to do this, quite the opposite. I fell in love with this book just from a glimpse of the front cover and I contacted Angel right away to ask if it was ok to cook her recipes for this particular event. She was even kinder than I had expected and was very kind to have agreed to this, so I can’t thank her enough for letting me do this.

Her book is so beautiful, I have it pride of place on my very own coffee table for everybody who visits my home to see, and I desperately wanted to blog about her lovely recipes as they are just divine, even to just drool over whilst reading this hardback book. Not only does it host some very simple, yet enticing recipe suggestions, it also offers advice on setting your tea party table, what to wear, how to do your hair and makeup, even a section for men on how to dress and groom before sitting down to tea. This book should be owned by any tea party or cake fanatic, and it would make a perfect gift for Christmas – if you can bare to give it away!

My venue was The Secluded Tea Party HQ (My very own Kitchen) for a proper Underground Restaurant feel to proceedings for once in my tea party life… This is where the idea stems from, however as my home is quite small in space, I tend to pop up in different locations rather than host it at my humble abode, and this does work very well.
However, it was lovely to be able to host a smaller event offering warm food fresh from the oven - Bliss!

I set my small and intimate table for 6 guests for this tea party event, set with candles and chocolate and even some tempting chocolate-dipped marshmallows and chocolate & marshmallow melting spoons for a naughty midnight feast treat to use in our naughty hot chocolate towards midnight. As well as a lovely returning gentleman guest, some of my guests had travelled from as far as Kent and South East London, much to my excitement, such an honour to have my tea party attendees travelling to Cambridge and enjoying a day of punting followed by afternoon tea.

I also took some more inspiration from “The Vintage Tea Party Book” and offered a table setting in the form of a fun parlour game, something of which Angel again is very passionate about offering alongside her events bringing back the simplicity of tea party entertainment. I set up an antique tea tray with some beautiful pearls, old perfume bottles and other such nicnacs to play a game where guests could close their eyes and somebody would remove an item and the others would have to guess what disappeared in a memory game.
However, conversation freely flowed and did not stop until 1am, and so we did not get to play this game hehe.
But it looked great on the table for my guests to nosey at whilst we nattered over the tea party treats I had made.

The tea of course was flowing, my Rhubarb & Custard variation being requested several times as well as a new addition of a Rose tea for everybody to sip on. Whilst my afternoon tea menu consisted of Angels’ delicious Goats Cheese & Leek Welsh Rarebit with Chive Grass (hot from the oven as a starter) followed by fluffy Brie & Walnut Scones and a herb butter to melt onto these gorgeous savouries. We then enjoyed chilled Orange Possets topped with the most amazing tasting spiced walnuts, of which I plan to make again this weekend for a family meal. They were served in mismatching tea cups and were a perfect deviation from my usual cake-only menus. This recipe is worth buying the book alone. It’s so easy, yet moreish, this is going back on the menu again one day soon!
We ended the evening with Miss Adoree’s engraved Earl Grey Truffle Hearts and my own additions of Oreo Truffles drizzled in white chocolate as well as miniature Chocolate and Cherry layer cakes with a cherry buttercream filling.

Needless to say, by midnight, my guests were happily off home to bed after a marvellous Tea Party Midnight Feast and an evening of (a heck of a lot of) laughter & merriment, with some new friends made. It was a huge amount of fun and I can’t thank them all enough for making it such a great evening – one never forgotten that’s for sure : )

Miss Sue Flay

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Christmas Traditions... Xmas Tea Parties & A Grinch-inspired Event!

Do you have a christmas tradition? Be it with your family, friends or even with your colleagues?

I didn't used to do anything other than sulk and be miserable at Xmas time (Bah, Humbug!), but last year that changed for me, when I found the world of Afternoon Tea and vintage-inspired tea parties... Sitting at Peacocks Tearoom in Ely, I found myself enjoying a pot of warming tea and a plate of spiced scones and mince pies with Brandy Cream - Oh my! It had snowed the night before, so the warmth and steam coming from that pretty teapot was a welcome addition to my lunch with my lovely friend, Amy, and it made me realise how much a spot of Afternoon tea can change your day for the better. It really can.

So this year, why not start your own Afternoon Tea tradition?... Come to The Secluded Tea Party on Sunday 11th December, where I will be throwing a Christmas Tea Party in Cambridge (At a top secret location, of which will be be announced to ticket holders nearer to the event) and the theme this year will be of a *Grinch-y* theme..... Indeed, the menu will be created around the Grinch-y character who may have stolen Xmas (or Christmas) and the What?-ville inspired menu will include a cute village of edible goodies around the famous mountain that the presents were taken to the top of.....

Yes. A Grinch-inspired tea party will be coming to Cambridge... and I promise you, nobody other than the guests will be able to steal the goodies from the table!.... If you fancy a fun afternoon of sillyness and chat with new friends around an afternoon tea event, this is the event for you!....

Book here to secure your place, or why not treat a friend of family member with a sweet tooth if you know somebody who would like this as a treat or gift. (Just email: to discuss this if you do, and we will make sure that they are looked after for you!)

Alternatively, why not book your very own Afternoon Tea Party to enjoy with your children and their friends, or even your own friends or family and start your very own Secluded Tea Party tradition throughout the build up to Christmas.

We can come to your home and provide just the Tea party food, or we can host the entire afternoon for you including setting and decorating the table, pouring your tea, serving your cake and even washing up afterwards so you can put your feet up and have a happy scone-fuelled snooze afterwards.

Or you can come to one of our many *Miss Sue Flay* approved Tea Party venues and enjoy an escape into the Cambridgeshire countryside for an hour or two to escape the relentles and evil Xmas shoppers that you may be about to encounter in Cambridge.

You can also have your office or work Christmas Party in Cambridge or the Cambridgeshire countryside with The Secluded Tea Party... We can come to your office, again with just the food for you to enjoy or we can host an office party with a difference... even choose a theme to suit you and your fellow hard workers... We can offer a traditional Christmas tea party, a vintage-inspired tea Party selection, or even go for your own spin and have a gory Zombie themed party should you desire!

It's your Christmas party, you can have whatever you want!.... Why should it be boring and the same every single year?!.... It really shouldn't.

Afternoon Tea is the perfect way to relax, enjoy sweet and savoury treats and chat over a cup of tea.
It will beat the usual pub lunch with dry turkey and all the sloppy trimmings, rest assured!

We have availability from the 1st November, right through until New Year, so email us now to secure your very own Secluded Tea Party this Christmas!
We are based in Cambridge, however, we can come to you, no matter how far away you are, just ask!

Miss Sue Flay


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The First Cambridge Cake Crawl - Book Now!

The first Cambridge Cake Crawl with Miss Sue Flay will be held on:

 Saturday 26th November 2011

2pm - 5pm

Meeting & Crawling within Cambridge City Centre

Limited to 10 Places currently

£30 Per Person


What is a Cake Crawl I hear you ask?.... 
It is exactly what you think it is... Like a pub crawl, but instead of drinking alcohol you will be eating cake along the way. If you can't handle eating lots of cake in one afternoon, you can of course pack it away in your goodie bag (Of which will be provided on arrival to the first venue) and you can take it home with you for a second wind. 
This event has been inspired by a London Cupcake Crawl hosted by Cake Masters, so please do see their photos from the day to get an idea of just how fun this type of event can be.

Of course, this will not be too excessive... I think 10 cake crawl stops in one day would be a little too much, even for the more hardcore of the cake eaters in town.
Some may argue this thought, but I feel this works best. 

This is an opportunity to visit some fantastic Cambridge Cake pit-stops with Miss Sue Flay of The Secluded Tea Party as your Cake Crawl Tour guide for the afternoon. 

I have arranged for a few special locations to entertain myself and my Cake Crawlers in ways that they wouldn't get if they were to just walk in off the street to sample their cakey treats in store. It's very exciting indeed.  
The Cake Crawl will cost £30 
to include ALL of the following pre-arranged Cake stops:  

2pm- Meet at the Hotel Du Vin for some Mini Treats and a cup of tea in very relaxed & luxurious surroundings.  
The Hotel Du Vin have also agreed for us to get stuck in and have an interactive cake experience with them at their grand table within the Library. This is the perfect start to our cake crawl, where we will all get chance to get to know each other and discuss the next steps for the afternoon over a relaxed 30 minutes. 
2.30pm- On to the newly re-opened Fitzbillies for a taste of their amazingly sticky Chelsea Buns - with a difference! Owners, Alison Wright & Tim Hayward will be setting up a chef's table especially for us to sit at within the bakery kitchen whilst tucking into a mini Chelsea Bun Tier and their fantastic freshly brewed coffee. A REAL treat for us all!
With the added bonus of being joined by Alison & Tim themselves, you can ask them your burning Fitzbillies and cake-related questions whist tucking into these gorgeous sweet bites.
3pm- We head up Kings Parade to Benets Ice Cream Parlor for a scoop of (Well, I suggest this anyway...But there ARE other flavours to suit!) Afternoon tea inspired Ice Cream within a delicious waffle cone to be children again for half an hour... They have tasty and refreshing flavours home made in their basement, such as Bakewell Tart, Apple Crumble and even Ferrero Rocher! A scoop of Ice cream with the perfect view of Kings College will be the perfect Palette Cleanser to help us on our cake-fuelled Cambridge tour. Kings being a very personal landmark for me. 

3.30pm- Will see us taking a quick detour onto the fantastic Cambridge Market Square to meet one of the markets' most well respected and charming market stall holders it has to offer. If you haven't met him before (How could you NOT have noticed Cambridge's most enthusiastic and charming Cake Loving man?!), his name is Thomas and he runs the stall with all the Caribbean cakes & puddings at T & S Foods. A family run stall in the heart of Cambridge, they have been here for 15 years and he is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. You will be allowed to pick up any slice of cake to take home with you in your goodie bag... His best seller is a Rum & Raisin Slice. 

4pm- A jolly skip from the Market to one of my favourite streets in Cambridge... Green Street for a relaxed half an hour in Bill's Cafe, which is a very new and refreshing addition to Cambridge's Cafe selection. Whilst here, we will have a table reserved for The Cambridge Cake Crawl with a few goodies to take away with us, as well as the chance to tuck into their Warm Scones, served with Bill's strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream to warm the cockles. 

4.30pm- Will see us finishing off our Cake Crawl at Cambridge's Exclusive Members Only Club, 12a. Where our knowledgeable host will prepare us some prohibition era & dessert inspired (Non-Alcoholic) cocktails to sip on to toast the afternoon and the finale of our very first Cambridge Cake Crawl with Miss Sue Flay and your fellow Cake Crawlers. This fantastically secluded venue within a corner of Cambridge Market Square is a venue for my very own tea parties, should you wish to have a Secluded Tea Party with a sophisticated spin on proceedings. 

You will also be provided with a goodie bag for the day, and you will have the chance to add  some brilliant pre-arranged giveaways from each venue to this throughout our Cake Crawl Journey through Cambridge City Centre. 

You pre-pay your £30 to Miss Sue Flay, which stops any time wasting moments fighting over the bill at each cake-based venue. We will be able to walk in and out without having to worry about that element, it will all be pre-paid through your ticket price.

Spaces are limited to 10 cake crawlers only, so to book, please email Miss Sue Flay at:

See you there I hope : ) 

Miss Sue Flay 


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Miss Sue Flay's A-Z Of Favourite Films

As you may or may not know fellow Afternoon Tea Lovers, I am a huge lover of films
I am a Cineworld Card Holder and I try to get to the cinema both in Cambridge and in Huntingdon as much as I can, as well as owning a disgraceful amount of DVDs of which I do watch over and over again with a selection of my favourite films. 
I am always blogging away with a film on in the background, it helps me to relax. 

I have been inspired to run this A-Z of my top movies/films (Debate alone here on if we should call them films or movies in the UK ; ) by my lovely friend Emily and her Musical A-Z on Facebook, as well as a local and very passionate film blogger in Cambridge called The Move Evangelist
- Check out his blog, it's just brilliantly written and very amusing.  

It's actually very difficult to share with you my favourite films of all time.
 However, I am about to share with you just a selection of my cinematic loves and for each letter of the alphabet, I have debated and argued with myself over which one would win.
Some have won just for their cheesiness and smile-inducing moments. 

Please don't judge me. Hehe. 

What is your film choice for each letter? 

Do comment below and share your alternatives with us all : ) 

A is for Amelie
"Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain" 
... or if you are like me and you studied A Level French...went to France for the summer & met a group of Germans (and so forgot everything you learnt at the click of a tanned bald headed gents fingers)
then also known as "The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain"
A beautifully made film with the enchanting Audrey Tautou. 
This film is the definition of romance. 
I sit there over and over again with a goofy smile on my face whilst watching this, as well as owning a film still of which I found in Covent Garden which furnishes one of my bedroom walls. 

B is for (The Notorious) Bettie Page  
The story of Bettie Page in the 1950's is a very interesting & emotional story, as she was seemingly so naive, yet she happily went along with her modeling career and got herself caught up in a law suit featuring the naughtier photos & videos that she had a part in. 
Bettie Page was a beautiful pin up icon, and this film is a firm favourite of mine. 

C is for Confessions  
Confessions is one of those films that frustratingly never came to the mainstream cinema, in fact not even the independent cinemas in Cambridge. And I was desperate to see this at the time that it came out. It was worth the wait. From the very start you are hooked, this teacher/student scene is all about revenge and it plays shocking mind games with the students as well as the viewer from the off. Never has an opening scene been so powerful through words. To see it is to believe it, trust me. Trailer here

D is for Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark 
 I have never been able to sit all the way through a Guillermo Del Toro film and I don’t know why- I know, terrible, just terrible! His latest offering really didn’t appeal until I just happened to be going to see it one afternoon. It’s such a dark, yet amusing story, almost a twist on a children’s fairy-tale with a few jumpy & heart racing moments. For me, the real fear came from the teeth…quite literally. I have an awesome fear of teeth, even the noise of toothbrush on enamel gets me quivering, so this was scary & horrible for me for that reason alone! But it isn’t gory, it’s all in yer head. Most people laughed hysterically at the ridiculous scenes, but I loved it for its escapism. Trailer Here.

E is for Easy A
A teen story with a wicked difference. Olive is played by the fabulous Emma Stone, a favourite actress of mine, and it's a chick flick with some adult humour mixed in there. Olive gets herself tangled up in a tiny white lie that starts to go very wrong for her (Naturally, don't they all go this way?!) until she has to come clean. Her parents (Dad played by the hilarious Stanley Tucci who has some titter-inducing lines) are open about sex and drugs and rock and roll... And I love the film, cheesy parts and all - So there! If you want a feel good film, this is your solution. Oh and it has Phoebe from Friends in it... And she plays a bitch for a change, hurrah. Trailer here

F is for Flight Of The Navigator
A childhood classic & one that used to intrigue me of a Saturday afternoon, as well as scare me witless secretly too. Why on earth did it used to scare me?... Well how would you like to knock yourself out and then find yourself in a space ship? That is a freaky thought on it's own... but then throw in fast moving trains, moving through time and then seeing your younger sibling is older than you, fireworks that darn right creep me out and not forgetting the scariest part of all... Sarah Jessica Parker in a lab coat! Hehe. I only love this for the little rocking alien who dances along to the Beach Boys and the funny voice of the space ship's computer system! Not sure why I love it so much when I'm creeped out by so much of the story line... Bizarre us film lovers! Trailer here