Posts Tagged ‘easter’

It is official –  I adore Betty’s chocolate Easter badgers! Inspired from the classic British woodland scene, these gorgeous creatures became an endangered species last year, and quite frankly, I am determined to snare one this time. Hand crafted from Betty’s swiss chocolate, they are almost too lovely to eat with their cute marzipan noses……almost…..

Betty's gorgeous Easter time treat chocolate badgers are back!

And a cup of gorgeous leaf tea in a Vintage Tea Cup is the perfect accompaniment

An Easter tea time treat is an indulgence, something special to be enjoyed and savoured. Tea with Mary Kate is all about inspiration for seemingly ordinary events, and turning them into wonderful connecting experiences. This Easter 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.


Easter Tea Time Vintage Tea Cup


Inspiration for amazing eater afternoon tea

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We all need to belong, to connect, to be interested in each other. Easter Afternoon Tea allows the time for exploration of those needs.

It feels like a real treat, it evokes another era when you dusted off your best crockery. There is an intrinsic ceremony to the event and all it takes is a few simple up front preparations (or quite frankly, you can cheat and buy it all in!).

Afternoon Tea with a beautiful retro 1950s tea set

Easter Afternoon Tea is a wonderful indulgence………

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! 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.

Tempting Easter Afternoon Tea Treats

Tempting Menu Idea’s for Easter Afternoon Tea

I recently came across the delightful Mrs Beetons Household Managements book. If you’ve never read it, it a really insightful step back in time, to the issues and challenges that faced the middle class house wife. I admire the inspiration for its creation, namely that Isabella Beeton could not abide to see waste and mismanagement. One of my favorite sections is on sandwiches, and I can honestly say that I have never quite seen as many options for filling that is provided by the resourceful Mrs Beeton. Now, our taste for anchovy & haddock may have waned, but I think it’s an inspiring look at some forgotten options that it would be good to resurrect. My eternal favourite is egg mayonnaise and cress, with the secret ingredient, garlic salt, it makes them divine! The ubiquitous cucumber sandwich is synonymous with all that is afternoon tea, and really easy, so I would include these too (Mrs Beeton even has advice to avoid soggy bread, p945). I also love salmon and I’ve recently discovered trout, with its earthy taste, rather lovely. A few savouries like scotch eggs and pork pies are also good. I do make home made mini quiche, again, if you want to make it really easy, buy in the pastry. I always include onions that are fried in olive oil with salt and pepper,  and a dash of thyme. I adore pineapple and cheese on sticks as well but would include a fresh fruit salad for an alternative to the cakes.

Ok, so I know that it’s traditional to have a simnel cake for Easter, but I’m going to be rebellious and suggest a delicious Lemon Meringue Cake, a Nigella recipe. And although you’re thinking, ooh, that looks tricky, I promise you,trust the instructions  and follow exactly, and it will turn outlook and taste fabulous! I made it this week in a trial run and there was not too much left!

Gorgeous lemon meringue cake from Nigella

Make a Gorgeous Cup of Tea Cake to enjoy for Easter Afternoon Tea

If after all that encouragement you’re still not feeling brave enough, then make “Cup of tea cake”. This is incredibly easy, and I guarantee will work out and taste delicious. It’s from a 1970s farmhouse fare cookbook that I had in my Christmas stocking as a child, and I’ve always loved it, because the receipts were collected from country house wives by farmers weekly and gives such insight to “country life”. I’ll spare you the receipt for Jugged hare, but let me know if you wish to see it and I’ll happily sent it:

Cup of Tea Cake – from Mrs Asquith, Harrowgate

4oz butter

1/2Ib mixed fruit ( currents, sultanas, candied peel)

1 cup tea

1/2 Ib self raising flour

4oz sugar

1 teaspoon each of bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice ( the secret ingredients that make it fabulous!)

1 egg

Melt butter in a pan, add fruit and tea. Bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Cool. Sieve dried ingredients, add boiled mixture and egg, mix well. Bake for 1 1/4 hours at gas mark 4 in a 7in tin. Spread with butter and serve with lashings of hot strong tea.

Enchanting and Connecting Easter Afternoon Tea Inspiration

Tea with Mary Kate is all about inspiration for seemingly ordinary events, and turning them into wonderful connecting experiences. This Easter 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 to home bake and create an enchanting Easter afternoon tea.

And Tea with Mary Kate has even more Inspiring Afternoon Tea Ideas:

Agatha Christie Inspired Afternoon Tea

Glorious Welsh Afternoon Tea

Rose Inspired Afternoon Tea

A Quite Splendid Vintage Afternoon Tea

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Tea with Mary Kate dares you to take action to create a wonderful, connecting Easter experience this year.

Easter is all about connecting with the celebration that is Spring

First of all, I’m all for bringing spring indoors (it’s still a little chilly after all!), and fresh spring flowers are such an easy way to enhance the aesthetic & connecting experience of Easter. A very easy trick is to lay freshly picked ivy from the garden all around the cutlery too – it makes you feel like you are having your lunch in the freshly sprung leafy & green spring. I adore daffodils, displayed in a simple vase, it’s impossible for them to fail to cheer. I also love this basket with its green satin ribbons & imaginary spring forest floor to showcase the very edible chocolate bunny, inspiration for creating your own centre piece for your special Easter celebration.

There’s nothing more welcoming than a beautifully decorated Easter Table…..gorgeous ribbons and chocolate filled buckets

For a beautiful Easter table, you could tie your cutlery with beautiful Easter ribbons, gingham’s & polka dots are my favourites which I order from Crafty Ribbons. They are passionate about ribbons & I have found this company to provide a great product of excellent quality, at good value for money, with a great service. Their web site also provides really lovely ribbon seasonal ideas. I also use their ribbon to wrap all my presents. It is such a simple thing but makes all the difference – there is such pleasure given by wrapping gifts in lovely ribbons. There was even an Easter Ribbon challenge. Although too late for this year, I’m hoping this will be an annual event! I love their chicks & eggs from their Easter treat ribbon range.

Another idea is to use children’s miniature buckets as a take home present for everyone. These can be filled to the brim with Easter goodies like Cadbury mini eggs & placed on everyone’s table setting. I did this last year and it instantly transported everyone back to their childhood, thrilled to indulge child like in sweets & chocolate as a total treat at the end of Easter gathering. It’s a simple but lovely way of getting into the Easter vibe and getting the Easter proceedings underway.

Personalised name place setting with an Easter theme to delight this Easter……

Alongside the Easter ribbons & miniature Easter buckets, I lay the table with an Easter card for everyone. Each is personalised with their name, its first purpose being as a seat planner, but it provides a beautiful theme for the table, at very little cost & it gives everyone a beautiful momento of Easter lunch.

One theme I have used is the very cute and engaging Chick & Easter Egg cards from Rachel Ellen Designs. For our table, the girls were “chicks” & the boys were “Eggs”, but of course there were desires to be the other one on both sides!

Rachel Ellen Easter chick & egg place cards

I have also found a very stylish Easter bunny card from BellyButton designs. This is an inspiring company too, initially funded by a grant from the Prince’s Trust, ideas’ from fashion & art are the inspiration that has now led to a shop in Didsbury & a thriving business. I also applaud the fact that BellyButton are being nice to trees, an occupational hazard when you manufacture cards, however, it’s good to hear they are working to be more environmentally friendly, very encouraging news for those of us who still like to send & receive cards.

BellyButton Bunny

Another really wonderfully inspiring Easter theme I’ve found is from  Belle & Boo, a collection of artworks from the imagination of illustrator Mandy Sutcliffe. Belle & Boo are two of Mandy’s favourite characters, Belle with her bobbed hair, bright eyes and vintage clothing, is insistently curious about the world  around her. Boo is Belle’s adorable bunny rabbit companion and confidant. I think these designs are amazing & so evocative of Easter, they could not fail to provide an inspiring table place setting.

Beautiful image for Easter from Belle & Boo

For those with a talent for serviette folding, go for a bunny inspired fold for each of your guests.

Creative Idea’s for a very special Easter

The world is your Easter oyster! Even if you get half way down the page & think, oh, gosh, I’m never going to do all this, just choose one thing – lay a beautiful tablecloth if you don’t normally, use your lovely crockery, light a few candles and find some cards you love to make everyone feel especially invited. My wish though is that this has inspired you to unleash your creativeness and connect with those that you love – have a wonderful Easter!

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Inspiration for Easter gifts

If, like me, you’re sitting at the kitchen table, planning your Easter weekend menu & egg hunting activities, your thoughts may too have wandered onto the topic of what to buy as a gift that is both thoughtful & has meaning as a present for Easter, one that you can feel good about as well as being beautiful and aesthetic in its own right. Well, I’m glad to let you know your search is at an end – look no further than purchasing a lovely Zimbolic Easter Bunny!

Zimbolic Easter Bunnies

A Zimbolic Bunny cleverly combines both ethics and aesthetics

You’ll perhaps know already that I’ve written previously about Jonathan Eaton’s excellent company Zimbolic in my recent blog Tea with Mary Kate is inspired by how Zimbolic does business. Zimbolic creates amazing sculptures for the home & garden from recycled metal, harnessing the talents of artists’ from Zimbabwe and Kenya, which is where the strong ethical side of this inspiring company originates. You’ll also be able to see Zimbolic at the 2010 Chelsea Flower Show.

Tie gorgeous Pastel Gingham and Polka dot Ribbons to enhance the Easter Bunny theme

I’ll be tieing pastel shades of gingham and polka dot ribbon around my bunnies to enhance the Easter theme from Crafty Ribbons. Another idea is to have an “Easter Bunny hunt” rather than the traditional Easter Egg hunt, although I have to confess, the sheer joy of hunting and finding chocolate eggs is such a treat that I would not wish to dissuade from this more traditional route, perhaps the Zimbolic Easter bunnies are an addition! Enjoy viewing the excellent Zimbolic website for further inspiration.

Ribbon Inspiration from Crafty Ribbons

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I adore this picture of Mary Kate – the joy & her sheer beauty beams at you from her smile.

Those familiar with the film “The Quiet Man” will recognise this as the scene in which Mary Kate & Sean’s engagement is formally announced & Mary Kate is radiantly happy, after a time when she thought this day might never arrive.

Beautiful Mary Kate on her engagement


Small but perfectly formed – Betty’s Tea rooms are enchanting to visit for any occasion

Whilst an engagement is an important, life changing event, it’s sometimes easy to overlook less noteworthy but still significant times when you are together with those who are most special & important to you. Tea with Mary Kate seeks to focus us on an appreciation of these moments, as significant & special in their own way. This can be a simple invitation to visit for tea at your home or it could be something more elaborate, but both times are equally special & worth treasuring.

A visit to Betty’s Tea rooms spring’s to mind, when, for no particular reason other than it was a beautiful spring day, I found myself over looking Harrogate’s lovely gardens from their rather special tea room there. A visit will be easier for some of you than others, as Betty’s has decided to stop at the small number of six but six perfectly formed tea rooms in York, the already mentioned Harrogate, Northallerton, Harlow Carr & Ilkley. I applaud that decision, taken deliberately to keep the quality & standards of their business high & for me it makes these tea rooms all the more special. Established in 1919, I can highly recommend a visit, worth the wait for the sometimes long queues at popular times but the tea is amazing, the menu an interesting mix incorporating the Swiss Yorkshire heritage that makes Bettys unique, & the service excellent. Afternoon tea in the beautiful surroundings of the tea room was a real treat.

Betty's cafe afternoon Tea

The experience of a visit is enchanting – but Betty’s by Post is a worthwhile substitute

It’s also a lovely place to visit with those that are important to you. For those in the know, Mother’s Day will be a little early this year, on Sunday 14th March – so here’s the rallying call to get your organising hats on, with one idea to give the experience of a visit. If you are not able to visit in person, you can still have a slice of the action by taking advantage of the Betty’s by Post service. I have used & continue to use this excellent way of transporting a little of the Betty magic. Their legendary Fat rascals are beautiful, moist, fruit filled creations that you can always rely on. They also have a lovely Fat rascal tea set range designed by the talented Emma Bridgewater.

Gorgeous Betty inspired Tea sets by Emma Bridgewater

Fat Rascal tea pot

Betty’s gorgeous Easter Badgers

With Easter just round the corner, stocking up on their beautifully decorated Easter cakes or simnel cakes for an impromptu tea sounds a perfect idea . Their tea also comes highly recommended & in their distinctive caddies are really beautiful for gifts too. Finally, if you are short on ideas for Easter, look no further. The Easter badger is an inspiration, I love him! I’ve dropped a few hints already…..

Almost too good to eat - Gorgeous Easter Badger

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