Posts Tagged ‘connecting experience’

A Tea with Mary Kate Future Tea Trends Prediction for 2012 is the Tea Dance

With the gaining momentum for afternoon tea, and our increasing interest in dancing, what more sublime a combination is there than the tea dance. Amazing locations, vintage frocks and enchanting music. It is an invitation to step back to another era – a time of beautiful china cups, convivial conversation, and beautiful dancing – quite a wonderful a combination.

Future Trends in Tea - The Tea Dance

Imagine being whirled around the dance floor, with a wonderful afternoon tea waiting to be served in the wings – well, my dears, you’ll need something to keep your strength up! And what’s more, it is virtually guilt free! All that energy expended dancing quite marvellously redresses the balance of that sumptuous afternoon tea. Tea with Mary Kate is predicting the tea dance as a healthy future trend in tea if ever there was one.

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Take a New Year Cup of Kindness, my dear,  for the sake of Auld Lang Syne

New year is always a time of reflection. In the famous tune, Auld Lang Syne, composed in 1799 by Robert Burns, it asks us to remember, to think about our memories and recall past events. Burn’s makes such an evocative request, it cannot fail to provoke a strong emotional response. Scotlands nostalgic pipers echo the past, their sound seems to reach almost through time itself.

This New Years Eve Afternoon Tea party is inspired by Auld Lang Syne. It is old fashioned and drawn from traditional Scottish fare. It is quite deliberately comforting, as this time of year can be hard – for those who are on their own, who are facing difficulties, or past memories that end of year events prompt a return anew. It is a time also of opportunity, of renewal, a perfect time to turn over a new leaf.

Take a Cup of Kindness - Scottish New Year Tea Party

A Traditional New Tears Eve Afternoon Tea Menu

As you will be familiar, Tea with Mary Kate is a fan of leaf tea – oh, I hear you cry, all that mess and fiddling – but friends, that is the point, to take time, to make the act of making tea a pleasurable one, and frankly, one that gives a much better brew. The leaf Tea for our new years eve tea party is a strong Scottish Blend, malty and full bodied. Crisp white linen adorns the table, candle light and beautiful tartan ribbons, tied on menus, around cake stands and vintage china. The fire is roaring, and all is right with the world.

New Years Eve Tea Party Menu

Tea Cups of hot Scotch Broth

Traditional steak pie filled tea cups, draped with pastry

Smoked Salmon sandwiches on wholemeal bread

Black Bun

Lavender Shortbread – served with sparklers

Traditional Scottish Black Bun - New Year Tea Party - from Delicious Magazine

Time is fleeting. Tea with Mary Kate wishes that this new year’s eve is one where you choose to take time to reflect. May it be a time of contentment and happiness for you – have a memorable New Year.

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What, may you ask, has the King’s Speech to do with Tea?

The gift of Tea, and its quite splendid ceremony, is that it can transcend all barriers and provide universal connections across social status & generations. When the stuttering Duke of York initially visits his prospective speech therapist, Logue offers him a cup of Tea & insists on calling him Bertie. In another charming scene when the then King & Queen visit his home, Logue has laid the table all ready with gorgeous china tea pot and cups.

The Queen takes Time for Tea in the Kings Speech

The King’s speech is an utterly British film about King George VI during the time of the abdication of his elder brother, King Edward VIII. It captures an iconic moment in time, when the world was turning on its axis and just about to be plunged into an almost unthinkable scenario to many, a second World War. Colin Firth, already tipped for an Oscar, is utterly brilliant as the stammering Bertie. Having seen the film, and read a few interesting reviews including the  GuardianBBC,  & Mail, where Logue’s Grandson shares some fascinating undiscovered papers left to him by his father, what I adored was that iconic, and quintessionally British stalwart, tea, was at its very heart.

The King's Speech - a stuttering George VI dreading the prospect of speaking

I adored the scene when Lionel Logue first meet’s the then Duke of York. The kettle in on & an offer of Tea is made!

Despite the social status of his patient, and unbeknown to any of them definitively at that point in time, soon to be the next king of England, the eccentric Lionel Logue recognises that his talent can provide the healing to lead a nation.  This did not prevent the offer of and making a cup of tea while conducting his interview, completely at odds with how the Duke was used to being treated. Indeed, when a visit was made to Lionel Logue’s home, the table was laid splendidly with the best china all ready for tea time, with the then Queen happily helping herself.

The Kings Speech -Time for Tea

The scene I loved the most though was when the then Duchess of York is being driven through the foggy streets of London to seek out Lionel Logue initially.

Having exhausted conventional treatments to cure her husbands stammering, she was prepared to take great risk. It often takes a desperate situation to act, love to follow it through, courage to persuade others to take that first step, and then finally bravery to conquer your innermost & deep-seated worst fears.The Duchess provided a pseudonym, and in one of the most touching and amusing conversations in the film, Lionel asks quite innocently  if her husband can avoid public speaking by doing another job. Confessing her position then, Lionel becomes aware of the huge influence and help he can offer for such a prominent individual in serious need of speech therapy.

The soon to be Queen Elizabeth Seeking a speech therapist

What if you had always lived in the shadow of your elder brother, with no expectation of the throne. At a time of great peril, on the verge of another world war, what if your main role was to do the thing you most struggled with?

Colin Firth is perfect as the Duke of York, then the people’s King, George VI. His portrayal of the unprecedented situation of his brother’s abdication that was unfolding around him, and his rising panic but huge integrity to do the right thing was incredibly touching. The film felt intimate, and although surrounded by wealth & privilege, you felt the Duke’s despair at the huge weight of responsibility, the dread & fear of his own short comings. It was clear there was not the slightest wish to be thrust into the lime light. The Queen knew the only way out was to conquer his stutter. In Logue’s Diary, and in letters between them, there is a very touching description of the relationship that had developed:

April 19, 1937 – Went to Windsor.

King in grey clothes, blue stripe. Came forward with a smile: ‘Hello Logue, so glad to see you. You can be of great help to me.’ Went through Coronation Broadcast speech and altered it considerably. King in excellent health, a bit stiff about jaw, most anxious to do best.

April 30, 1937

Went through Coronation speech with King. When I told him he took two reputations into the box with him, he said he knew he did, that’s why he was laughing. He is a good fellow and only wants careful handling.

The King’s Coronation – Wednesday May 12, 1937

A car took me to the Palace at 7 o’clock. Went upstairs and found His Majesty, looking very fit after his very emotional day. We went through the speech once, at the mike, and then back to his room, where the Queen joined us, looking tired but very happy. We discussed the Coronation, particularly the solidness of the Archbishop and I told the King how we all noticed he took over the doing up of his belt. He told me that in some Coronations, the King was naked to the waist.

Kept him talking right up to the loud speakers playing the National Anthem. The Queen said ‘Good Luck Bertie’ and he walked right up to the mike and began (the perspiration was running down my back). He went on beautifully, a splendid voice, flexible, slight trouble with one word… he had me so worked up, that I could not talk at the end.

In a few seconds, he walked out into his passage and gave me a warm pressure of the hand as he said ‘Good night Logue, I thank you very much’ and the Queen did the same, her beautiful, indescribably blue eyes shining.

I said ‘The greatest thing in my life your Majesty is being able to serve you’. She said ‘Good Night. Thank you’ and, softly, ‘God Bless You’. This bought the tears to my eyes and sent me feeling like a fool. I had a whisky and soda, a silly thing to do on an empty stomach, and the whole world began to go around.

Letters between the Queen Mother and Mr Logue

Feb 20 1952

Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth
The Queen Mother
Buckingham Palace

Your Majesty

There arrives a most wonderful letter from His Majesty on December 16th telling me all about his health and what he had gone through – unfortunately I had to go into hospital before I could reply.

The King’s letter is in front of me as I write, and I cannot realise that it is the last one I shall ever receive.

Since 1926 he honoured me, by allowing me to help him with his speech, and no man ever worked as hard as he did and achieved such a grand result.

During all those years you were a tower of strength to him, and he has often told me how much he owes to you.

I have never forgotten your gracious help, to me, when my own beloved girl passed on.

I have the honour to be your Majesty’s humble servant.

Lionel Logue

Feb 28 1952

Buckingham Palace

Dear Mr Logue

I am so grateful for your kind letter, and very much touched by what you write – I am indeed sorry to hear that you have been so ill, so it was most kind of you to make the effort to write to me.

I think that I know perhaps better than anyone just how much you helped the King, not only with his speech, but through that his whole life, and outlook on life. I shall always be deeply grateful to you for all you did for him. He was such a splendid person, and I don’t believe that he even thought of himself at all – I did so hope that he might have been allowed a few years of comparative peace after the many anguished years he has had to battle through so bravely. But it was not to be.

I do hope that you will soon be better, and with again my heartfelt thanks, I am, yours very sincerely.

Elizabeth R

What do you do if the King & Queen are planning to drop by for a visit?

Dust off your best china, lay a lovely table cloth, and offer them a cup of tea of course! The gift of Tea, and its quite splendid ceremony, is that it can transcend all barriers and provide universal connections across social status & generations. Are you equipped for that all important visitor popping in for tea? Tea with Mary Kates does hope so.

Soon to be King George VI - The Duke & Duchess of York by Vandyk 1923

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The ghosts of memories past float by as the warm fire crackles in the grate. There is an enduring nostalgia to the end of each year that almost demands reflection. As the light fades, Tea with Mary Kate would love to share her best Tea moments from this quite wonderful year.

Best Afternoon Tea

Although a very tough choice, it has to be the vintage afternoon tea, with flower filled tea cups & enticing menu’s on white linen table cloths, quite splendid indeed.

Vintage Afternoon Tea

Best Tea Discovery

That Two British Tea growing estates are now in existence – I adore Pembrokeshire Tea Company’s Rose Tea – it is aromatic & fragrant while retaining s lovely strength & depth of flavour. Cornish Estate Tregothnan has a rather splendid classic blend too that evokes the quintessional Britishness of tea drinking.

Best Leaf Tea

Henrietta Lovell’s Royal Airforce Tea

While the kettle is brewing, I always shake the eye catching tea caddie, so when I open the lid, I am bathed in the full aroma of this amazing Tea. Each smell transports me back instantly to my very first memory of leaf tea. Nostalgic, and evoking wonderful memories of tea times past, her tea also commemorates the valor shown in the Blitz, a unique and critical moment in British history.


Tea in the underground during World War II

Best Tea Knowledge Sharing Experience

Without a shadow of a doubt, Mary Kate’s amazing visit to the enthusiastic Northern Tea Merchant’s owner James Pogson. James generously shared his knowledge & passion for tea, including Top Tips on how to assess the quality of Tea.

Northern Teas James Pogson tea tasting

Best Vintage Tea Cup

Tea is an experience. It is full of warmth, fantastic flavours, and is made rather special by dusting off your favorite tea cups. Now, I will admit a weakness for vintage china, and I just had to have this gorgeous cup, with it’s acid yellow and gold decoration with a beautiful rose decoration. Absolutely contentment in a tea cup.

Beautiful Vintage Tea Cup - Perfect for afternoon tea

The eve of a new year beckons. Has it been a good one? What did you promise yourself you would do? Whatever the situation in which you may find yourself, each new year offers the prospect of a new start and fresh beginnings. Tea with Mary Kate’s wish for this blog post is that you seize each new and precious opportunity. What are your Best Tea Moments of the Year?

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The vista is one of an amazing winter wonderland

Do you see it? Or is your mind focused on presents still to wrap, or how you will manage if the gifts you ordered do not make it through the snow & ice. Christmas time can be so dominated by the pressure of expectation that we genuinely forget its meaning.

A Tea Cosy with a calming Christmas message - Just the perfect present from The Crafty little cottage Harlech

You may be thinking that time is the last thing you have at this moment

It is one thing that you do have a choice over though. Christmas is about connecting,  of reigniting that magical, childlike wonder of joyfulness. The ceremony of tea allows us to pause, to breath, to charge our batteries even for a moment. It allows your heart to reconnect to what is really important.

Tea with Mary Kate’s Step by Step guide on what to do next

Choose your favourite cup

Why have you saved your best cup for later? Now is the perfect moment to use it, otherwise when will you? Many of you will know I have a weakness for vintage Tea cups, and my recommendation for Christmas Tea time is going to be no exception. I love garlands hanging like Christmas decorations around this beautiful vintage cup.

Beautiful Christmas Vintage Tea Cup

Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea

Tea with Mary Kates’s Top Tips for Brewing are a mere click away. Well, if you are going to do it, you may as well do it well! There is a stillness in doing nothing more than listen to the noise of the water as it boils.

My current favourite teas are:

Birt & Tangs Ginger Tea – a clean warming blend, with cloves, pu’er & a very ginger kick! Do drink without milk

Betty’s Tea room Blend – leaf tea of course – Drink with, or without milk, my preference is with


Healthful & refreshing Birt & Tang's Ginger Tea

Keep your Tea Warm

It is cold after all, and quite frankly, there is nothing worse than cold, over brewed tea, so I have included some inspiration on How to keep your Tea Cosy

Warm wishes from Tea with Mary Kate for a joyful & contented Christmas time.

A perfect Reindeer reminder of the meaning of Christmas

Related articles

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

Absolutely Fabulous Christmas Afternoon Tea menu

Christmas Afternoon Tea Menu

Tea, and the ceremony of tea, represents an opportunity to pause, to breathe, to connect with the aesthetic & ourselves that we rush past most days. Beautiful ribbons and an enchanting christmas poem decorate the menu of Christmas tea time treats. I subscribe to beauty & aesthetics that inspire a way of living, a way that is gentle & respectful, that nurtures, in mind, body & spirit, and what better time to embrace this philosophy than at Christmas.

A Gorgeous Selection of Sandwiches

Cheddar cheese on wholemeal bread with homemade chutney

Turkey on white bread with cranberry sauce

Salmon on brown bread with lemon and dill butter

A Sumptuous Selection of Savouries

Something Sweet

Trifle Filled Tea Cups

Christmas Cake


Star Mince pies


A Choice of Leaf Tea

Tippy Assam – A Full bodied Indian Tea

Chai- An Aromatic flavoursome spiced black Tea

Vintage tea cups add a beautiful touch to the festive occasion

Christmas Afternoon Tea is an indulgence, not only a feast for the appetite – stacks of gorgeous sandwiches, savouries, cakes and tea of course – it also a feast for the eyes – and there is a gift in its beautiful presentation, but the act of just doing it is all important.

Tea with Mary Kate is all about inspiration for seemingly ordinary events, and turning them into wonderful connecting experiences. This Christmas gives us the opportunity to do just that, time to love generously. My wish is that this has encouraged you to enter into the spirit of the moment, and indulge your creativeness! Lay the table, send invitations, draft a menu, home bake and create an enchanting and wonderfully connecting Christmas afternoon tea.

Seasonal red Christmas tea cup with a beautiful decoration of roses

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Good old British tea, scrummy cakes, and Best Indian, Ceylon, Darjeeling and Lapsang Tea – who could wish for more!

We all need to belong, to connect, to be interested in each other. Enchanting Afternoon Tea allows the time for exploration of those needs. Sumptuous tea, with cake & jam & honey feels like a real treat, and evokes another era when you dusted off your best crockery. Tea with Mary Kate is all about inspiration for seemingly ordinary events, and turning them into wonderful connecting experiences. Enchanting afternoon tea gives us the opportunity to do just that, with a wonderful intrinsic ceremony to the event, and time to love generously.


5 Splendid Idea’s for Enchanting Afternoon Tea –  Idea’s and Inspiration from Tea with Mary Kate

Agatha Christie Inspired Afternoon Tea

Inspired by her amazing books, I think the “Queen of Crime” would be equally thrilled at the prospect of afternoon tea, as the cupboards at her own home at Greenway were packed full of beautiful china tea cups. The “Evil under the Sun” lemon tartlet and “The Clocks” macaroon look almost too good to eat – well almost!My SubscriptionsNEW

Glorious Welsh Afternoon Tea

Hurrah! Thank goodness that the 7th Duchess of Bedford was so ravenous, she was bold enough to order bread and cakes  to eat mid afternoon, unable to wait for dinner that was served very late in the evening in the 1840s! After the idea caught on with her friends, so started the regular gatherings, and over time, the tradition of British Afternoon tea.

Bara Brith - Gorgeous cake for a Welsh Afternoon tea

Rose Inspired Afternoon Tea

Do send an invitation for a rose inspired Vintage Afternoon Tea. The sheer delight of receiving such an invitation is a signal that it is special. I think 3.30pm is the perfect time, ideal to do your preparations, and still have enough time for you to get ready too.

Of course, lay the table the vintage table cloths. In my imagination, there is chatter and the sound of teaspoons chinking on bone china. Harlequin sets are quite lovely, and you are feeling terribly generous, you could even give everyone their tea cups as a gift from the day.

A Quite Splendid Vintage Afternoon Tea

The design of the Afternoon Tea menu enhances the vintage theme, beautifully decorated with ribbons and gorgeous fabrics. Alluring descriptions of the delights to come, including the tea to be sampled, add interest and create a talking point, although none is needed!

The tea served is from Northern Tea Merchants and is brewed to perfection:

Classic Blend – A bright, full bodied blend of Rwanda, Assam, Ceylon, East of the rift Kenya, picked at the height of the season

Rose Congou – An aromatic flavoursome black china tea blended with rose oil and delightfully mixed with rose bud petals

vintage afternoon tea menu

Inspiration for an Amazing Easter Afternoon Tea

I remember as a child my grandmother having a beautiful plate to serve the soft lettuce, and freshly cut bread onto which would be spread lashings of butter – it really did taste like nothing I have ever had since! Easter afternoon Tea is an indulgence, not only a feast for the appetite – stacks of gorgeous sandwiches, savouries, cakes and tea of course – it also a feast for the eyes – and there is a gift in its beautiful presentation, but the act of just doing it is all important.

vintage afternoon tea

My wish is that this has encouraged you to enter into the spirit of the moment, and indulge your creativeness to home bake and create an enchanting Easter afternoon tea.

time for tea

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