Monday, 27 February 2012

Aylin’s Birthday Tea Party

Recently, I helped the beautiful Aylin, currently studying at one of our very own famous Cambridge Colleges to celebrate her birthday at her home in Cambridge City Centre. She wanted to have her very own Secluded Tea Party in her fabulous Cambridge home with her wonderful friends and with that she hosted her very own Alice in Wonderland inspired Tea Party.

She even dressed as Alice for the afternoon tea and she looked brilliant, having sent me some of her own photos from the celebrations herself.

This was just the reason for me wanting to get involved after a quick chat with her a month or so before the event and I made the entire table of Afternoon Tea Cakes and Savouries for her birthday tea party whilst she rented a gorgeous & delicate mismatching china set to use alongside it. It was the perfect match and a very relaxing version of The Secluded Tea Party.  
We love to help out with birthday celebrations and a birthday tea party is the perfect and most memorable way of sharing your festivities with your friends and family. We can even supply colourful candles, decorations and treats to make sure that you do not forget any of those tiny details you may need for your birthday party. We will help to take the stress out of it and allow you to actually enjoy the event as much as your guests, allowing it all to be a surprise for you as well! We can make the entire menu a surprise if you would prefer not to know and make it all that more exciting for you on the day itself, although if you have a favourite recipe or cake desire then let us know as it will appear at the tea party table should you wish. We can even make the venue a secret if you trust us whole heartedly and wish to leave your home for your afternoon tea event at one of our fab Cambridge Afternoon tea locations. 

Miss Sue Flay loves surprises and helping to make a special day even more so.... Secrecy and tact is our middle name, so if you are wanting to celebrate or book an event without the whole world knowing about it, again, we are more than happy to not say a word. 
We are called the Secluded tea Party for a reason... ; ) 

We now have a vintage girl guide-esque Bell Tent, complete with purpose built afternoon tea table, bunting and floor cushions for you to enjoy an al fresco tea party or afternoon tea picnic with the sides rolled up on a warm & sunny day.

You can even add a pamper session, live music, even paintballing, chocolate tasting and/or making, cake or cupcake decorating alongside your event, just ask and we will be more than happy to help you arrange a fun activity should you wish to keep yourselves busy and pampered over your afternoon tea. The list is always extending, so just ask & we can discuss what is on offer and we will be more than happy to oblige.

You can visit for more information or simply 
email: to discuss your desires.

The tea party menu that Aylin had chosen for her birthday tea party was as follows:

Delicate Fingers Sandwiches, with a selection of fillings

Cherry & Vanilla Scones, served with luxury strawberry preserves

Oreo & Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

A Large Pea, Pancetta & Mint Tart, perfect served warm for her cold snowy day, but it also tastes superb chilled if you prefer 

Miss Sue Flays’ Signature Chocolate & Malteaser Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Swirls and plenty of Birthday candles for the birthday tea party girl to blow out on her very special day

And not forgetting a good strong pack of a locally sourced Winter Spice Tea Blend to warm their cockles

It was a pleasure to be of help to the fabulous Aylin and her Cambridge ladies with this booking and if you would like your very own Secluded Tea Party, it would be equally so to help you too.

Miss Sue Flay

Friday, 24 February 2012

Afternoon Tea Etiquette With Miss Sue Flay & William Hanson

The Secluded Tea Party is stupidly excited (If it is polite to be saying so!) to be offering a very unique and one off afternoon tea experience in Cambridge in partnership with the UK's leading expert and consultant in etiquette and protocol. 

William Hanson, one of the world's youngest etiquette specialists, will be co-hosting this afternoon tea party with Miss Sue Flay to help guests to understand the importance of manners at one of our most beloved mealtimes and most English tradition. 

See Williams' SUPERB Video Blog on this event HERE  

William understands that good manners and etiquette, which are based on common sense, should be universal. He strives to incorporate their proper use in a 21st century context, helping everyone to become more aware of, and sensitive to, the ways in which they conduct their lives. When he’s not stretched out on his sofa relaxing in his toweling robe watching repeats of Lark Rise to Candleford, or tending his renowned terrace herb garden, William provides first-class training and is a trusted advisor to private households, business & cultural organisations and schools alike, and has worked for several VIPs. 
As well as having recently broken a world record, of which if you ask him nicely, he will tell you all about when you come to meet us in September. 

We will be hosting a sumptuous afternoon tea to include a selection of delicate finger sandwiches, cakes and sweet treats and copious amounts of top quality loose leaf tea at a very quirky and luxurious hotel in Cambridgeshire, location to be revealed to paying guests nearer the time to add to the curiousness of the event itself. It will not disappoint and will be the perfect place to enjoy a relaxed afternoon tea with the young king of manners and all things politely British. 

Miss Sue Flay will be on hand throughout this very thought out afternoon to answer any questions on her local knowledge and information gained on Tea, Cake and everything afternoon tea related whilst William will talk you through how to both entertain politely as well as enjoy as a guest politely and will cover topics such as....

History of afternoon tea
Napkin etiquette
Scones - Jam then cream? Or cream then jam?

How to drink tea
Milk then tea or tea then milk?
Hosting manners
Good guest etiquette

See my very own Video Blog on this event HERE

You will leave this event with a knowledge and genuine passion from your fabulous and motivational guest speaker and educator and William will help you to be both a fantastic afternoon tea host or hostess, as well as the best behaved afternoon tea guest or recipient.

And if you don't, these words coming from his very own lips, he will have you deported for being a completely useless and rude British resident ; ) 

The Secluded Tea Party with Etiquette at Afternoon Tea with William Hanson will be held on: 

Saturday 15th September 2012

3pm - 5pm
At a secret & luxurious Cambridgeshire afternoon tea location. 
Details will be disclosed to guests nearer to the event once tickets have been booked. 

Limited tickets at £50 

to include a full Luxurious Afternoon Tea and 2 Hour Etiquette lesson

If you are in London or anywhere outside of Cambridge, come along for the day and make a day of it within our beautiful City of Cambridge, there is so much to see and do to make this day a much desired day out and Miss Sue Flay will be more than happy to be your Cambridge Tour Guide, should you need any advice on where to go and where to eat, drink, visit or see. 

This will be the finishing school for afternoon tea and your manners will increase ten fold... Myself included here!

But don't take just my word for it, have a watch of this fabulous Video Blog from William Hanson himself, explaining why you should come along to The Secluded tea Party's Etiquette of Afternoon Tea event....

I may shortly follow suit and try to live up to this fabulous video blog, so watch this space and return shortly to see what I have to say about this event in my own words!

To book your tickets for this one off event, you will find 20 tickets only, available to book now through We Got Tickets HERE

To see more about the lovely William, do visit

Any questions please do email

We hope to see you in September. 

Miss Sue Flay 


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Clandestine Cake Club - New Cambridge Event & BBC One Show Live!

Click Here to see our Clandestine Cake Debut... I was live on the BBC One Show on Friday 24th Feb around 42 minutes in, take a look hehe.... 

As some of you may know by now, amongst my Afternoon Tea shenanigans with The Secluded Tea Party, I have also been the host of The Clandestine Cake Club in Cambridge for the last year nearly and it’s been so much fun! It's even the reason behind Miss Sue Flay's Tuck Shop Cake, which was the last cake I made for the Clandestine Cake Club and has gained a lot of love ever since hehe.

What on earth is The Clandestine Cake Club (?!) I can hear you muttering... It’s exactly how it sounds. It is a secret cake-based meet where you simply bake a cake, bring along a guest if you wish and meet at a pre-agreed location for a cuppa and a chance to dig in and try other cakes with your fellow bakers and cake eating guests. It’s such a simple idea, but it’s a fantastic one which doesn’t usually cost anything other than your cake ingredients and a cuppa or two from your venue and it’s a superb way to get chatting to other people and discuss this very popular passion. It gives the guests something in common to talk about from the very start of the event and allows you to sample cakes that you would not necessarily have tried or seen otherwise.

The Clandestine Cake Club is all about cake. No cupcakes, brownies, cheesecakes, cake pops, whoopee pies... none of that. Just cake. Pure and simply. Loaf cakes, layer cakes, sponge cakes, any type of large cake big enough to serve 8-12 people with ease.
You are usually set a theme or an ingredient guideline before the event to give you something fun to base your cake recipe around and each guest is asked to make their host aware of what they intend to make so that they can tell you if that cake type is already being made. This ensures a superb variety and that not everybody turns up with the very same lemon drizzle cake or a Victoria sponge : )
The simple idea of The Clandestine Cake Club is spreading like wildfire across the nation and is heading for global cake victory, thanks to the lovely Lynn Hill, also of The Secret Tea Room based in Leeds.

Lynn has been a huge help to me and The Secluded Tea Party since the beginning and helped me with advice when I got started last year on my own cakey adventures, so when we met up at a London Supperclub back in February 2011 and she started telling me about her plans for a new cake network, I naturally thought it was a fantastic idea and told her right away that when she was ready to grow it, I would happily set one up in Cambridge... And I thought nothing more of it for a while.
And so it happened, growing very quickly, Lynn agreed to spread the Clandestine Cake Club to Cambridge just 2 months later and I got to work on the Cambridge Cake Club... It’s scary how time flies and looking back, with our very first Clandestine Cake Club meet with 8 lovely & passionate guests over a cup of tea and a few slices of cake in a local cookery school kitchen, growing to a mighty 28 members attending on our second cake club meet in the summer at a
local Cambridgeshire coffee shop which was the perfect space for such an event.

There is always a lot of cake there and after a few slices and a cup of tea or coffee, guests will often sit and chat for a bit, attempt another slice or two if they feel up for the challenge (Apparently the winner is a gentleman at the Leeds Clandestine Cake Club who managed 11 slices before falling asleep on the sofa- blimey!) and then pick some of their fellow guests slices to take home with them for a second wind later on. It’s cake heaven!

And so, our third Clandestine Cake Club meet is coming to Cambridge, where will be joined by Lynn Hill herself for the event and 25 lucky cake makers and eaters will get to join us for a fantastic morning of, well... cake eating hehe.
Visit the link below and get yourself on the guest list now!.... All you need to do is bake a cake, bring a friend if you like and some pocket money for beverages at our secret venue, of which details will be passed on nearer the time.

We can’t wait to see you all there!

Miss Sue Flay

PS -

You may also be excited to hear that Lynn and some of the Clandestine Cake Club members are going to be featured alongside the lovely Paul Hollywood on the Alan Titchmarsh Show in early March, as well as on the BBC One Show this Friday, 24th February at 7pm... Do watch the One Show this Friday and you may see a very familiar face on their live show between 7pm and 8pm.... I will be there myself, alongside members from other clubs around the country, with one of my Cake Club creations for the lovely presenters and their guests to eat - Very nervous, so be kind! Haha

You can read more about why this is happening and what is being featured here:

Monday, 20 February 2012

Twitter Basics Tea Parties

This weekend saw my very first Twitter Basics Tea Party, which - you guessed it - was all about Twitter, the ever growing popular social media website.
The easiest way to tell non Tweeters what this social media site is all about it, is to liken it to Facebook and Tweets to Facebook status updates....and that's pretty much what Twitter is. No frills, games, pages, groups, advertising getting In the way. Just getting your word out, sharing links, photos and making new contacts. 
It really is simple and once they get started, people kick themselves for not using it sooner, especially for their business and blogging for example.

I will most likely have so called "Twitter Gurus" and "Social Media Moguls" jumping on this and no doubt having their say on my opinions... By Twitter is meant to be fun, fantastic for networking and getting what you want to say out there. I don't care what people say, it's not tricky, it's not complicated and on the whole, it s fantastic tool for connecting with people.
I'm no social media expert...I mean, for goodness sake, what course or degree will actually qualify you to call yourself a Twitter Guru?? - if there is, then best of luck with the course!
There are huge arguments out there and debates on all of this and to be completely honest with you, I'm not interested in any of it. 
I use Twitter for The Secluded Tea Party and for my new & upcoming Cambridge-based social group and it works wonders for my personal social life. That's plenty for me to know it works, once you get your head around the layout and de-Facebook your mind.

Twitter is there, as is Facebook and other such Social Media sites.. But one conversation that I have over and over again with my Secluded Tea Party guests is about them wishing they could get to grips with Twitter and not to be scared of it.
In my personal opinion, there is nothing much to it to get started and get to grips with the very basics. It just sometimes needs somebody who uses it to physically show you what to do. And this is where I have offered myself to my tea party guests to do just that. 

So here I am, offering my personal thoughts and experience on Twitter. Alongside a fantastic cup of tea, some warm Cheese Scones with Chive Butter, a plate of melt in the mouth Rocky Road Chocolate bites and my signature Coffee & Walnut Layer Cake with A Mocha Buttercream. What more could you want to kick start your weekend?!
Joined by 5 lovely guests, at The Secluded Tea Party HQ no less, we tucked in and sipped away on Earl Grey Tea whilst chatting about our experiences of Twitter, Facebook and Blogging. The conversation brought the guests together strongly from the very start and by the end of the event, everybody had more inspiration, contact suggestions and business ideas than they knew what to do with. That was the aim 110%.
And that was just them talking between themselves. It was fantastic fun and great to see such helpful and kind guests helping each other and offering advice to one and another. This was before I even started to talk about the subject in hand or before I shared with them of some of my very favourite Tweeters and bloggers! 

I'm personally sick of being told how I MUST Tweet or use Facebook, or how to blog. 
Everybody has completely different requirements and needs for these things and there is no right or wrong way to Tweet in my personal opinion. You do what works for YOU and with the support of people Tweeting around you, you will soon learn how you Tweet best, what gets people responding and interacting with you and how many times a day you need or want to Tweet. I won't tell you if your last Tweet should have been a Direct Message rather than a public Tweet. I'm no teacher, expert or official, I'm just an addict and it works very well for me, so use my experience to ask questions and I will answer as best I can. 
If I can't answer, I will find out for you. I'm 100% honest and will never boss my guests around on this subject. It's not in anybody's interest to do that.

One of my guests had paid good money a while back to gain the help of one of these so called "Social Media Gurus" and she had been made to feel like she was silly for not understanding or getting what she was being taught.
This makes my blood boil, especially as she had paid for their help and they hadn't done the job she had expected. She had been brave to admit this to us all and I really I hope I helped her with my hands on "show and tell" between my laptop, iPhone and iPad, which had various people confused as they all have slightly different layouts. I think this helped them all to see this is what we all find, depending on what we us to get online. 
This "Guru" had set up her up on Tweetdeck without explaining Twitter or even how to start with the basics of what a Tweet actually was and how to do it. She had blown her mind with talk of Google Analytics and SEO and various other puzzling elements and had actually found our chat over afternoon tea and my physical helping of her sending out some Tweets on the day more helpful than this paid for session.
I'm glad I was able to help and never claim to be an expert. But what I can offer is a relaxed environment and my own experiences with Twitter, including how I can fill an entire table at The Secluded Tea Party just through the use of Social Media. Im proud of this and I'm happy to help where I can. 
There are no secrets to Twitter in my eyes, just patience and knowing how to use it effectively.

I provided my tea party guests with some basic "How to" Guides before the event, to help them log on to Twitter and slide through the very basics, such as setting up their profiles, biographies, adding a photo and how to Tweet, as well as the terminology and the dreaded Hashtag, which was the topic of the event. By the time I had shown them all what it was all about, they were all smiling and have since been Tweeting and moving forward with their accounts, which was exactly the aim of the event.
In fact, this was one of my most favourite events to date, as we got to discuss our favourite Tweeters and follow some that we each recommended to one another. All of this helpful Twitter chat and advice over my home made afternoon tea in a warm and cosy kitchen on a cold Saturday morning. 
As mentioned, I'm a hater of being told HOW or WHAT to Tweet, but I am more than happy to answer questions on getting started and help over a relaxed and informal cup of tea and a slice of something sweet. I don't claim to know absolutely everything, but I can point you in the right direction should we need to seek some further advice of suggestions... Thanks to Twitter ; )

There will be another Twitter Basics Tea Party in the future, so get in touch if you fancy joining.
Or if you would like to book a private picnic-based or afternoon tea chat on Twitter with me, I am more than happy to discuss this, either as a group or individually, just email me at:

Tweet Tweet

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Secluded (Tea Tasting) Tea Party - Booking Now!

The Secluded Tea Party is extremely excited to be offering a real first... A fantastic opportunity to enjoy an Afternoon Tea Party in Cambridgeshire with Miss Sue Flay whilst sampling a huge selection of the finest loose leaf teas with local Cambridge- based tea supplier, Kandula Tea.
The Kandula Tea Company, run by the lovely duo Jane & Gail, has grown out of a passion for real tea and the fascinating country of Sri Lanka. As animal lovers, seeing the importance of elephants in Sri Lankan culture inspired them to dedicate their brand to these magnificent creatures.

They had noticed, amongst family and friends, a desire for better quality teas that offered them a healthy beverage as well as interesting choices for different moments. And so KandulaTea was created.
All Kandula Teas are picked, processed and packed in Sri Lanka, which contributes to the local community. And their selection of teas are growing and growing, having even won a Gold Star Award at The Great Taste Awards 2011. They are rising stars in the tea world and I personally check every tea shelf in independent shops on my travels as I think any tea selection is incomplete with their unique loose leaf blends. I'm a convert to loose leaf tea thanks to these passionate ladies.
Their Ceylon Pink Tea is a firm favourite at The Secluded Tea Party, being the first ever naturally pink tea, it's beautiful... and said to be the perfect romantic cuppa. It has been suggested to serve with an edible flower,  enjoyed naked with a loved one.... However, please keep all clothes on whilst enjoying at our event... Hehe. 

On Saturday 26th May 2012 at 2.30pm
we will be enjoying a table of home made Afternoon Tea Treats to match their many sample cups of tea, so come with a hunger, as well as a thirst : )
Guests are invited to arrive alone or with friends and family, as The Secluded Tea Party offers a superb oppurtunity to meet lots of interesting and lovely new people over a cuppa and a slice of delicious cake.... You will leave with new friends and a smile on your face, it's a fact that makes Miss Sue Flay so happy at each of her events.





Unlimited amounts of tea for every taste and favoured blend, prepare to be educated by the fabulous team at Kandula Tea.

The Afternoon Tea Menu will be designed to match the tea selection perfectly and will be confirmed nearer the time after secret cahoots between your tea hosts. 
Book your ticket to The Secluded Tea Party to come along and enjoy the fun alongside copious amounts of tea as well as lots of tasty afternoon tea treats such as finger sandwiches, gorgeous cakes and fluffy scones all homemade by Miss Sue Flay herself.

So hopefully see you at the very next Secluded Tea Party table in May at a secret Cambridgeshire Countryside location for an educated afternoon of Tea & Cake.... It's going to be fantastic!
There will also be the opportunity to purchase your favourite tea blends throughout the event should you wish to do so, so do bring your pocket money along and treat yourself at tis very special and tailor made event.
Book your Tickets Here.

Visit Kandula Tea Here
See you very soon!
Miss Sue Flay