Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Farewell dear reader!

The decision to archive Tweed & Tea hasn't been an easy one, for the past few months whilst moving the site over to Blogger I've changed my mind many a time, but it is with a heavy heart that I have decided to close down my little vintage blog for good.

It's been a joy to share some of my vintage tid-bits and boozy concoctions with you over the past few years, but I feel that the time is right to put this lovely vintage blog to bed, in the most luxurious sleepwear imaginable of course! 

The good news is that here at Blogger, Tweed & Tea can stay up as a permanent archive, so you can browse through your favourite articles and cheeky recipes to your hearts content. 

So bookmark the blogger url, and keep Tweed & Tea in your favourites, please note that the old tweed and tea.co.uk url will cease to function as of December 2016, but the blogger url will permanently be in place: http://tweedandtea.blogspot.co.uk/

Of course, you'll still be able to keep up with my vintage business as my lovely webshop continues to grow, where you can find some darling vintage finds! www.glitzandbits.co.uk. As well as keeping on top of my latest adventures in baking at www.cake-porn.co.uk, so all is not lost!

Thanks for your continued support over the years!  

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Size x-small? I'm sorry, you won't find that here..

I've lost count of how many times I've browsed the rails in a high street store only to find a distinct lack of smaller sized items available. The high street it would seem at times doesn't want to cater for smaller framed ladies, with even more stores reducing their range of small sized clothing down to a meagre selection, it often feels as if we're unwanted custom amongst some of the largest names in high street fashion. 

At a size 6-8 finding clothing that fits seems to have become a long winded task, with countless hours spent traipsing from store to store, and rail to rail, only to find that I've been cast aside, unwanted on the shop floor. 

But it's not just an issue of out of stock items in high street stores, take a look online at the selection available at some of the industries biggest and most well known stores, with barely a handful of items available to shop from in smaller sizes. One such retailer that was once a firm favourite of mine for their range of petite clothing has for instance whittled down their new season range to a mere fraction in smaller sizes when compared to their full range of clothing sizes.

It's not just an issue with a small handful of high street stores, many retailers appear to have drastically cut down their selection of small sized clothing in recent years, making that seasonal clothing shop a bothersome, time consuming task.

When did offering a smaller size become such a burden? Especially when it comes to everyday staple items such as work wear and day to day essentials? I've long become accustomed to the ritual of trying on a larger sized top only to go home and order it in my actual size later that day, but nowadays even that has become a tiresome task, more times often than not resulting in a disappointing lack of items in my size when I've gone online.

It could be understandable if it was a problem confined to the shop floor, with many keeping best selling sizes in stock over low selling items in smaller sizes, but if items were regularly kept in stock I know I'd certainly be far more likely to make a purchase there and then. But when the selection of items that are actually available in smaller sizes is so few and far between it can often be off-putting as a potential customer, why would you return to a store where your size is so rarely offered in their latest ranges when you could turn to a more trusted site to find those elusive new purchases?

It would seem that the high street doesn't want our custom, and that's more than disappointing when it comes to the big names in high street fashion. For now it seems that I'll just have to make do with spending countless hours researching and hunting out those smaller sizes items that I'd love to have in my wardrobe, only to be bitterly disappointed by what's actually available.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A retro treat : Cherry cookies.

Deliciously sweet, soft and squidgy, just like a classic American style cookie. These tasty treats won't last long, and make for a smaller batch than usual, so you have another excuse to bake a second lot! 

Inspired by the classic chocolate cookie, these sweet cookies have been adapted for a dairy free diet with a tasty cherry filled twist.

Ingredients (bakes half a dozen cookies)

100g dairy free margarine
60g dark soft brown sugar
60g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
80g chopped glace cherries

Pre heat your oven to 190c/170c fan/gas mark 5. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Cream together the margarine and sugars till fluffy and well combined. Add in the egg, followed by the vanilla and mix.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix till well combined, the mixture will be the perfect cookie dough mix at this stage, a lovely caramel colour that's slightly thick.

Add in the cherries and mix to combine, so you have a good mix of the cherries throughout the cookie dough.

Spoon mounds of the mixture onto the baking trays, smooth down each one slightly as you go to make rounded shapes. Leave a generous gap between each cookie as these will spread out when they bake.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, till lightly browned on the edges. Then leave the cookies on the trays once removed from the oven for a further 3 minutes, as these will continue to finish cooking.

Remove the cookies from the trays and place on a wire rack to cool down. These are delicious when slightly cooled, with a lovely squidgy centre to the cookies!

This recipe makes a great base for any cookie, easily swap the cherries for your favourite sweet treat to add to the cookie mix.

Recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food.

Friday, 2 September 2016

The new look Tweed & Tea is here!

Welcome dear reader, you've reached the new look Tweed & Tea! 

Over the past few months I've been moving home, making sure that you can still browse the archives to your hearts content, whether it's a spot of boozy tipple that your looking for, or some handy vintage style tips.

You'll find all of the archived content with ease thanks to the handy tabs at the top, from fashion, to food and culture. So why not dig in and take a peek through some of your favourite posts from the site!

You'll be able to keep on top of the latest posts by subscribing and following the blog, so you'll be the first to know when there's a new boozy concoction or some vintage tips. So why not sit back and let's get re-acquainted as you take a peek around the new look Tweed & Tea!

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Vintage beauty tips and tricks that are worth trying out.

Why spend hours devoting your time to countless beauty products and techniques when you could easily use a few tried and trusted vintage tips to achieve beauty perfection! Who needs a staggering amount of beauty creams, lotions and potions when you could try a few classic beauty tricks out with ease at home, you could even save yourself some cash!

If it was good enough for the starlets of Hollywood's hey day, surely it's worth trying at home. We're constantly seeing tips for beauty hacks and styling tricks, but why spend hours devoting your time to achieving beauty perfection, when a few minutes spending dabbing on a spot of vaseline could do the trick.

For every beauty problem there's an easy solution, and more often than not it's a time honoured tip that's been tried for generations. These handy vintage beauty tips and tricks aren't just old wives tales, they're tried and trusted tips that you won't know how you coped without them, and all they require is a few basic bits that you'll already have to hand!

Who'd have thought that a jar of petroleum jelly would have so many uses! Not just used for tending to scrapes and cuts, a jar of Vaseline can be used for so many things that you wouldn't have even thought of trying.

Tame those brows by using a small dab of Vaseline to shape and style, simply swipe your brows to shape once plucked. If you fancy something a little sweeter smelling I swear by Rose & Co's Rose petal salve which works wonders at taming those brows!

To prevent tried puffy eyesapplying a dab of Vaseline under your eyes before you go to sleep can also work wonders, especially if you've had a spot of tipple or two.. simply dab it under your eyes for a brighter look in the morning.

You can also use it to treat cuticles and rough patches of skin on your hands, simply dab a small spot of vaseline on the problem area and gently rub in.

Hair conditioner.
Not just used to create luscious waves, a spot of hair conditioner can also be used for a budget cutting beauty trick. Instead of investing in shaving creams and oils, apply a handful of hair conditioner to your legs prior to shaving, and wet shave as you normally would, it will help remove those pesky hairs with ease, as well as leaving your legs feeling soft.

Run out of blusher? Try using your favourite lipstick as a replacement, a tried and tested trick often used during times of rationing in the forties, simply dab a small amount of red or pink lipstick onto your cheek and rub in to blend.

Nowadays we wouldn't think twice after applying our morning moisturiser to our face, but a tried and tested vintage beauty method involved also applying that moisturiser to your neck. Instead of using your usual body lotion, why not try applying a generous dab of your face cream to your neck, guaranteed to help prevent dry skin as well as maintaining a youthful glow.

Another handy tip is to double up the use of your cold cream, if you prefer to use this as your daily moisturiser. It's an excellent make up remover, simply dab a little on to a cotton wool pad and use it to remove your make up with ease, it will also leave your skin feeling soft afterwards!

Images: Flickr Commons.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Cake for dessert! Apple and almond cake.

Is it cake, or is it a tasty dessert? Why not have both with this tasty recipe for apple and almond cake, a sweet treat that will certainly go down well and it's much easier to prepare then you'd think!

  2 bramley apples
  lemon juice
  1 tsp of granulated sugar
  175g butter
  175g caster sugar
  3 eggs
  125g ground almonds
  75g self raising flour
  1 tsp baking powder
  icing sugar to finish

Before you start preparing that baking tin start by peeling and chopping the apples, cut them into quarters then larger slices - save 2 quarters to cut into smaller slices to place on top. Place the sliced apple into a bowl and pour over 2 tsp's of lemon juice with the tsp of granulated sugar and mix well, set aside.

Prepare your baking tin, I used a 20cm springform tin with a removable base for my cake. Lightly grease and line the tin. Pre heat your oven to 180c/160c fan oven/gas mark 4.

Cream together the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time and mix.

Sift in the ground almonds, followed by the self raising flour and baking powder, and fold well to combine.

Add the larger slices of apple to your mix and fold to combine, then spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth over. Place the thinner slices of apple on top to finish, then bake for 40-45 minutes. In my fan oven this took 40 minutes to bake, this may take longer in a conventional oven.

Set aside to cool in the tin, then remove the outer ring, followed by the loose base. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool down, then finish off by sprinkling icing sugar on top.

A lovely sweet treat, you can easily make this bake gluten free by substituting the self raising flour with a gluten free flour and adding an extra egg to help with the rise.

This will last well for several days kept in an airtight container, perfect to eat as a cake or for a spot of dessert!

Recipe adapted from: Annabel Karmel.

Monday, 29 August 2016

A vintage gem in the Cheshire countryside : Blakemere Village.

Who'd have thought that you could take in a spot of vintage shopping in the middle of the Cheshire countryside?! Blakemere Village is a delightful hidden gem that's home to several independent shops and a tea room to boot, with plenty of finds to keep you busy throughout the day.

Set in the historic location of Blakemere Hall, where better to spend a few hours away in the country to take in some shopping, dining and much more. Blakemere Village is set around the hall's historic stable block, first built in 1878, which now houses several shops, a tea room and even a cupcake shop!

Blakemere Hall has certainly seen it's fair share of activity over the years, taking in some historic parties, to housing troops during WWII. Whilst the hall itself may have long been demolished, it's quaint stable block has remained intact and it's become the focal point for this picturesque countryside getaway.

Now home to several shops and outdoor activities,Blakemere Village is the perfect setting for a spot of vintage shopping, boasting several specialist antiques and vintage shops around the village. 

Whatever era you prefer your bound to find something that takes your fancy, from stunning furnishings and home wares, to collectables and costume jewellery in the village's specialist shops.

A visit to the Antiques emporium is a must, with several traders offering a broad range of vintage finds your bound to find a hidden gem or two. If it's home furnishings that you prefer, take a peek inside Pegotty's attic for a wonderful array of finds.

But it's not just home to some astounding vintage finds, you'll also find some wonderful crafts, jewellery and home wares stores amongst the village. From the quaint vintage inspired décor and home wares inside Heirs and Graces where you can also take in a spot of tea, to delightful sweets and treats from The chocolate box (where you can also snap up some free from treats) to a sweet cupcake shop Fairy dust cake shop, where you can build your own cupcake.

Certainly a delightful little getaway to spend a few hours shopping and dining, where better to spend your summer in vintage style with several events on at the village including a bank holiday extravaganza.

Blakemere Village is located off Chester Road in Sandiway, Northwich, CW8 2EB. Simply follow the signposts and you can't go wrong! Open daily from 10am – 5pm with free parking on site. Visit www.blakemerevillage.com to find out more.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Shopping vintage on a budget.

There are times when we've all got to cut our shopping budgets down, whether your saving those pennies or simply a little more strapped for cash than usual, but that doesn't mean that you can't treat yourself to a lovely new vintage find, vintage shopping needn't cost the earth and you can snag yourself a great budget find, or two, if you look in the right place!

Shopping vintage needn't be as expense as you'd think, you can pick up a great sale find at many vintage shops across the country, as well as at specialist fairs. Places like Judy's vintage fair for instance are perfect for finding those vintage sale pieces, billed as more of an affordable fair, a lot of their stallholders will be selected specifically for their budget vintage finds, so you'll be bound to pick up a great piece whatever era you like! Look out for sale rails and boxes on stalls, here you'll find plenty of reduced items, from £2 hats to £5 frocks, perfect to stick to any budget!

Shopping on the high street you'll find plenty of budget vintage items, shops like Oxfam have dedicated vintage sections, especially in larger cities, where you can be sure to snap up a great vintage find. Mostly concentrating on clothing, rather than accessories, you can find a great selection of hand picked vintage finds on the rails, just dive in and have a good look.

Keep an eye out for sale rails at your favourite vintage shops, most shops tend to stack their rails by clothing type, so keep an eye out for any reduced tags amongst the rails where you can snap up a bargain. Don't be afraid to stick to the basics either, items like accessories are a great way to dress up your favourite outfits and give them a new lease of life, vintage finds like scarves, gloves and jewellery are perfect to dress up any vintage look, and they needn't cost the earth either.

If you find yourself without a nearby source for vintage shopping, turning online to source those vintage finds is a great way to pick up a real bargain, so you can easily stick to your budget. Sites like Etsy are a great starting point for unique vintage finds, with many vintage sellers taking to the marketplace to sell their wares. Remember to take postage and import prices into account when shopping online for those vintage finds.

Just because your shopping on budget, doesn't mean that you can't find affordable vintage clothing or accessories to brighten up your wardrobe. Take the time to source those bargains out, whether your shopping online or at a fair, you never know what you'll find and you could end up spending far less than you'd initially imaged!

Images: Flickr Commons

Friday, 26 August 2016

Boozy Baileys brownies.

The classic treat gets a cheeky makeover with a tasty addition of baileys in the mix! These chocolatey treats are perfect to bake up for the weekend, or whenever you fancy a cheeky little treat.

  250g butter
  250g light soft brown sugar
  100g caster sugar
  3 eggs
  100g self raising flour
  50g cocoa powder
  2 shots of Baileys

Pre heat your oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4, grease and line a square baking tin (mine is 20 x 20cm).

Melt down the butter to start, this will help to add a lovely soft touch to your brownies.

In a large bowl mix together the two sugars, adding a mix of caster and brown sugar will make for a lovely crunchy touch to the finished bake! Then sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix.

Pour in the melted butter and mix well to combine, then add in the eggs one at a time and bring the mixture together, it should be rich and runny at this stage.

Finally, add the 2 shots of Baileys and mix together, the mixture will be very runny at this stage but don't worry! The addition of the Baileys makes for a lovely boozy bake, you'll certainly want to sample the left overs on the spoon!

Spoon the mixture into your baking tin, then bake for 30 - 40 minutes till a cake skewer comes out clean.

Leave the brownies in the tin to cool for 30 minutes, then slice into squares and remove from the tin. If you've used baking paper you'll find this stage a breeze, it certainly makes cutting and removing the brownies from a tin incredibly easy!

Place the brownies on a wire rack to cool for an hour then eat, they'll have the delicious taste of Baileys with the squishy, cake like texture inside, yum!

To finish off my boozy brownies I topped mine with mini marshmallows, you could try adding chocolate chunks for a truly indulgent bake!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Choosing quality over quantity.

How often have you picked up a lovely new dress only to find that it's made from a rough, scratchy and flimsy fabric? You don't want to be wearing that for too long! It's sadly an all too common occurrence these days with a lot of clothing companies appearing to be jumping ship on quality, going for quantity and fast fashion instead.

All is not lost though, but it's an all too common trend these days, with austerity still a much talked about buzz word in business, it would seem that many high end fashion houses, as well as high street chains, are starting to cut corners where they can, including on the very elusive garments themselves.

A high price doesn't necessarily mean good quality, but what do you look for in a well made piece of clothing, and why is it so important to have a good fitting garment?

You wouldn't want to wear a tight itchy wool sweater for hours on end, so why should you have to put up with a rough, scratchy low quality fabric on that new dress. A good quality made garment is incredibly important, you don't feel good wearing an ill fitting dress, or an over sized top, so why skimp on the quality when it comes to clothing.

A low price doesn't necessarily mean poor quality though, and the same goes for high end labels too, just because your paying a high price, that doesn't mean that your necessarily getting a well made garment. Take the time to really get a feel for those new purchases, does the fabric feel of good quality, is it a good fit, and does it look perfect when you try it on?

Really get a feel of the fabric quality with new items, just as much as you want to check the fit, a simple touch of that dress will reveal the fabric texture and quality, if it doesn't feel right, leave it, even if you have been lusting after it for weeks.

Examine the quality of the stitching and shape too, especially when shopping on the high street. Fast fashion can often be just that, check the stitching for gaps and thin thread, or missing segments on the seams. But just because it's a low price, that doesn't always mean that they've skimped on the quality, some mass produced, big high street labels have some amazing quality items, you just need to look!

We often forget to check the finish and feel of clothing in the rush to get that new item, but an extra minute checking over that new dress could unveil all sorts. Go for good quality items, no matter where your shopping, and you'll have a long lasting new addition to your wardrobe, after all it's just as important to have a garment that you look and feel great in.

Images: Flickr Commons

Loosen those purse strings with these astounding budget beauty finds!

A good beauty buy doesn't always have to cost the earth, or leave you whimpering as you splurge for another lot of cosmetics on your credit card. You don't always have to pay a high price for a truly amazing beauty product, and you could end up saving towards something a little special instead as you invest in some of these amazing budget beauty finds.

Take it from someone who really has tried a lot of cosmetics over the years, for every expensive wonder product there's a cheaper equivalent that's just as good, if not even better, that will leave you with far more cash left than you realised compared to your usual designer beauty essentials.

From face creams, to mascaras, and face powders to lipsticks, I've tried most, if not all over the years, and some have left me incredibly surprised at the results. You don't always have the money to over indulge on a designer beauty fix, and there are times when you could do with cutting corners, maybe even saving a little towards those gorgeous shoes that you've been lusting over.. and that's where some of these wonder budget beauty finds come in handy.

The wonder mascara
As someone who's often been left a little disgruntled with most mascaras it can be hard to find that perfect wand that leaves your lashes looking great. Whilst it's not a massive inconvenience to buy at the higher end of the market, I have been surprised at the similarities between my usual mascara and a budget equivalent. My old firm favourite used to be Max Factor's Masterpiece mascara, which at £9.99 a tube isn't exactly robbing you blind, but after trying W7's Lashtastic mascara I was incredibly pleased with the results, they could almost be one and the same! And at £2.99 per tube it's a little saving that could go towards more beauty essentials.

A great cover up
Concealer is once of those essentials that you really can't do without, and when you find the perfect one it's worth latching on to it firmly!! My favourite concealer was No7's Match Made concealer, it's handy tube formula is incredibly easily to apply and blend and at £7.50 it's a snippet compared to the high end equivalents on the market, but then I decided to try MUA's Pro Base concealer after hearing wonderful things about their budget beauty products.

At £3 per tube it's just under the half the price of my usual concealer but that small saving has become a new essential in my make up bag, it's light, creamy formula is incredibly easy to apply and blend, it's a wonder at covering dark circles and highlighting, I don't know I lived without it!

The bright and bold lipstick find
High end lipsticks have often left me a little disappointed with the results, so when I stumbled upon Limecrime's colourful cosmetics several years ago I was beside myself with glee, their My Beautiful Rocket lipstick in it's bright orange shade became a favourite of mine, at an average £12.75 per tube it was worth it alone for the pretty unicorn packaging, but when they stopped distributing to UK stockists last year I was left a little disheartened, so I set out to find a similar shade that I could buy a little closer to home without the expense of import tax. Make up revolution's colourful range of lipsticks was my savior, and it was far cheaper at a mere £1! Their Vice shade is just as beautifully bright and orange, it may need an extra application to reach the bold shade of Limecrime's lipstick, but for the price it's a wonderful find.

Amazing face cream
Then there's some essentials that you just can't do without, a good face cream is worth it's weight in gold, and after trying several different creams for sensitive skin on the market I've ended up stumbling upon an amazing budget find.Nivea's face cream has always been a go to essential for the colder months, but their Rich moisturising day cream has gone even further, it's a much lighter formula but just as nourishing. At an average of £3.99 per tube it's a great budget find that's just as good as the high end equivalent.

Treat those feet
Forget all the pricey foot care treatments and spas, you can easily do without them thanks to a handy tube of Soap & Glory's Heel Genius. This wonder tube could save you hundreds, whilst also working miracles on hard, dry skin. This handy tube could last you for years, admittedly as a yearly hoarder of their star buy gift sets at Boots every Christmas I've never been short on supply of this stuff, but it really does last for ages, so you won't need to buy it often. A small dab goes a long way and at £5.50 per tube it's a wonderful little find.

There's no need to turn your nose up at these tried and tested budget beauty finds, they'll go a long way in your beauty kit and you won't know how you lived without them!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

How to clean and maintain your Melissa shoes.

Unlike ordinary shoes these wonder footwear products have made their mark on the fashion industry, with their innovative plastic shoes that are as stylish as they are remarkably comfortable. But how you care for these unique shoes without loosing that remarkable sheen and sweet scent that they're so known for?

As an avid hoarder, sorry shopper.. of their wonder shoes, I've got more pairs that I could possible wear at once, but that hasn't stopped me from buying more when an amazing new design is released. Just what is it about these shoes that makes them so remarkable? Unlike traditional shoes, Melissa uses their innovative plastic, jelly like material to mould and shape their shoes, making for a flexible piece of footwear that has countless possibilities when it comes to design.

At first, you wouldn't expect a plastic moulded shoe to be so stylish and comfortable, but they've turned their eco friendly rubber shoes into a remarkable piece of footwear that's as much a joy to wear as they are to look at, take it from a keen hoarder of their designer shoes!

With such a unique material for their shoes, you often wonder how you should take care of them. Unlike traditional leather shoes, you can't go applying layers of polish and cream to these shoes, you'd end up doing far more harm than good, so just how do you clean your Melissa shoes?

After years of wearing their plastic dream shoes I've thankfully found an incredibly easy and handy way to keep those Melissa shoes looking as shiny as the day you first bought them, and it doesn't require any special techniques or products, just a couple of items to help clean and polish them up.

Those face wipes that you use to remove your mascara can also come in handy to clean up your Melissa shoes. Don't go for a harsh face wipe (so please don't use your exfoliating wipes on these shoes, you will end up doing more harm than good!), just a simple, fragrance free, and alcohol free face wipe will do. I've used Simple's 'Kind to skin cleaning facial wipes' and Boots 'Essentials fragrance free wipes' on my shoes, both are alcohol free which won't damage your shoes.

Use light, swooping motions across your shoes to remove any dirt, ensuring that you clean all around the shoes and underneath. Take a simple household tissue and gently wipe underneath the shoes to dry them, then place your shoes on top of the shoe box to let them air dry for a few minutes.

You can also use a light soap with water to gently clean your Melissa shoes, use a cloth to gently clean the shoes in the same manner as with a face wipe.

Once you've air dried your Melissa shoes, use a clean microfibre cloth to polish them, I use Tesco's 'Everyday value microfibre cloths' which come in a pack of 5. Gently polish each shoe, going from front to back, using light motions to bring that shine back to your shoes.

Don't be brisk with your shoes, just use gently motions to polish your Melissa shoes.

There you have it, an incredibly easy way to clean and maintain your Melissa shoes, and keep them looking as shiny as ever. Whilst this technique won't help with any scuffs or marks on your shoes, it will help to keep them looking freshly polished and shined, helping them to last for years.

Please note: As always, do take care when following these techniques, I have been cleaning my Melissa shoes this way for years to great success.

Above all, do remember to be gentle when taking care of your shoes, I cannot be held accountable for any scuffs or marks made whilst vigorously cleaning your Melissa shoes, treat them exactly the same as you would when polishing a pair of leather shoes, and take care whilst cleaning and polishing them.

Any advice and tips given here are just that, advice from a fellow Melissa shoe wearer, after years of cleaning and caring for my own Melissa shoes.

You'll also find handy tips for cleaning your shoes on the tag included in the box for your shoes from the manufacturer.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

How to host the perfect afternoon tea in vintage style.

As much as we'd all like to indulge in afternoon tea on a regular basis there are times when our purse strings just won't allow for it, but just because you can't throw caution to the wind and pop out for afternoon tea whenever you like, that doesn't mean that you can't host your own afternoon tea in style at home!

We all know how the perfect afternoon tea goes, with the perfect tea stands, crockery and pretty place mats bringing together the treats in perfect style. Piecing together the perfect afternoon tea set needn't be pricey, and when you'll be using these items time and time again, the first initial cost of buying those tea stands and sets won't be so much of a burden next time around.

Places like vintage shops and fairs are perfect to find some unique vintage tableware pieces, but many high street shops have lovingly re-created vintage styled tea sets if you'd prefer to go for a brand new set. If like me, you already have several tea sets and stands to hand, then you'll find setting up your afternoon tea a breeze. Two and three tier cake stands are perfect to place your afternoon tea selection on, but don't dismiss single tiered cake stands either, they're perfect for serving up a cake to share!

Essential items like patterned napkins and doilies are perfect to finish off the table amongst your stands and tea sets. I use paper doilies myself, as these can be easily disposed of so there's no need to worry about any rogue cake crumbs staining your best lace doilies.

For starters
Sandwiches are a must for any afternoon tea, making it yourself means that you can make your preferred selection of sandwiches, as well as catering for any dietary needs. Classic afternoon tea choices include smoked salmon with cream cheese (go for a lactose free or dairy free alternative if needed), egg mayonnaise & cress, cucumber with cream cheese and dill, but you could add you own choices instead.

The perfect sandwich for an afternoon tea is usually sliced into rectangles with the crusts removed, but you could go for a fancy twist and cut your sandwiches into triangles. It doesn't have to be just sandwiches either, try adding small sized versions of classic savoury treats to the selection, such as Welsh rarebit and mini quiches.

The treats
No afternoon tea is complete without a selection of scones! Opt to make your own, or cheat and use a packet of store bought ones (I won't scold you for cutting corners here, it does save some time!), go for classic plain or sultana scones, or add a Yorkshire twist to your afternoon tea with some fat rascals, try my recipe here. Serve them with jam and cream on the side to your taste, or if your going for the fat rascals, warm them up before serving and add a bit of butter for a tasty treat.

A selection of dainty cakes and tarts always go down well with any afternoon tea, petite bakes such as madelines are the perfect bite sized treat, alongside dainty fruit tarts. Try these damson tarts for a lovely sweet treat, they can easily be made with slices of your favourite fruit instead of damsons if you prefer. Macarons are another bite sized treat to bring to the selection, save time by buying a selection to place on your stand, but if you fancy making your own, try my recipe for Earl grey and gin macarons for a lovely light treat.

Cupcakes are a lovely way to add a pretty touch to your selection of small cakes, go for classic plain vanilla or lemon cupcakes for a light bite, during the summer months you may want to try these strawberry and cream cupcakes for a tasty seasonal treat, try the recipe here. For a really retro twist to your afternoon tea, coffee and walnut cupcakes are perfect, try the recipe here for a distinctly vintage treat.

If cupcakes aren't your thing, why not try baking a classic sponge cake to serve up for your afternoon tea, a victoria sponge cake can't be beat for an afternoon tea treat.

Adding refreshment.
You can't have an afternoon tea without a brew to hand, serve up pots of freshly brewed tea, classic breakfast blends, earl grey and darjeeling teas are perfect to accompany your afternoon tea. Serve it up in a tea pot with dainty tea cups and optional sugar and milk on the side.

If you prefer your afternoon tea with a boozy twist, go for prosecco or champagne on the side for a decadent treat. Light cocktails and boozy fizz may be more your thing though, try classic cocktails such as sloe gin or ginger fizz for a refreshing tipple, or simply add a dash of gin to some elderflower cordial and tonic water for a lovely light drink.

Serving in vintage style.
Any good afternoon tea is served in classic style on tiered cake stands, place your starters and sandwiches on the top layers of the stands, with light treats and bakes on the lower stands. If you prefer to mix it up and let your guests help themselves, why not place your starters on cake stands and small plates, with sweet treats on the tiered stands.

Place your decorative pieces nearby and around the stands, with napkins to hand and pretty vintage table ornaments. Finishing off with small plates for your guests with dainty cutlery, you could look out for vintage serving forks and cake forks to really bring a touch of vintage style to your setting, with tea cups and glasses placed at the side of the plates.

At first it may sound like a lot of effort, but you could save time by using pre made and shop bought bakes and treats for your afternoon tea, besides who has time to make an abundance of macarons and cupcakes when you could be making an early start on the tipple!

Images: Bundt cakes Aduldej/FreeDigitalPhotos.net | Serving tea Wonggy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net | Afternoon tea Apolonia/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 22 August 2016

Bringing the 40's on screen in stylish, action packed fashion : Agent Carter.

Deadly lipstick, check.., concealed camera pen, check..., flawless seamed stockings, check.. There's no denying the timeless classic style of the 1940's, but there's something that's even more stylish when the iconic look of the era gets the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) treatment, in a stylish covert fashion.

Peggy Carter may be leading the life of an action packed double agent, but she's also doing it in impeccable fashion, bringing a touch of classic '40's style to the screen, in what we can only hope becomes another of Marvel's long running comic series.

Peggy's look through Captain America : The First Avenger, was that of timeless wartime style, with her perfectly prim uniform, stylish low heels and effortless make up, shaping the classic patriotic uniform in effortless style. Agent Cartersees her look changing subtlety throughout the show, reflecting the change in fashion just after the war that would have seen a slow integration into the iconicnew look, as women adjusted to both life and fashion after the war.

Her look may be close to the classic wartime wardrobe at first, but Peggy's covert wardrobe is nothing short of glamourous, from sultry Veronica Lake wigs and draping gowns, to stylish swing dresses and leather jackets that make for the perfect wardrobe, whether it's retrieving stolen objects, or facing the enemy.

But her wardrobe also shows how post war, women were often mixing and matching their wardrobe, making the most of what they had, reflecting both the style and attitude at the time, as many returned to normality post war. Her wardrobe manages to stay prim and proper, especially when she returns home to The Griffith Hotel (I'm sure that returning in anything that wasn't deemed proper would have raised more than a few eyebrows!), changing to more comfortable, familiar attire for her double agent work, and home life when she's away from the prying eyes of Miriam Fry.

What makes the casts wardrobes stand out is the true to era styling that perfectly reflects the fashion and mood of the time, with many of the outfits taking inspiration from classic '40's designs and patterns, helping to create the perfect '40's mood and style throughout each episode of the show.

We may have had to wait a while longer to see Agent Carter grace our screens here in the UK on Fox tv, but it's certainly been worth the wait, I can't wait to see what they come up with for series 2, especially when it comes to the wardrobes!

- Originally published at www.tweedandtea.co.uk in 2015 -