Posts Tagged ‘mother’s day’

Celebrating its 80th year, the Dorchester is holding a “thank you” Mother Day afternoon tea. It looks gorgeous and experiential but my dears you will need to have quite deep pockets.

Dorchester Mother's day afternoon tea

For inspiration on how to create your very own, ahem, less financially challenging alternative mothers day event, Tea with Mary Kate has some splendid ideas. I hope this does inspire you to choose something different, unique & special this year, & far from necessarily expensive, after all, it is the simple day to day acts of kindness through which we show our love of others. Tea with Mary Kate wishes a happy day to all mothers!

vintage tea cup mothers day card

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Tea with Mary Kate finds seemingly ordinary events, and seeks to show how special, how connecting each of these shared experiences can be. For those familiar with the film “A Quiet Man”, there are several scenes at the train station. The arrival of Sean Thornton and more memorably, when Mary Kate looks to flee to Dublin. I adore that scene when Sean slams shut all of the doors to look for Mary Kate, eventually finding her hiding in Third class.

Sean arrives at the station

Llangollen evokes the feeling of stepping back in time to the golden era of steam train travel

Standing on the platform of Llangollen steam railway station instantly transports you back to another era in time. The station is how you would imagine it to be, with its original luggage, and the crew and station master suitable attired, the station instantly manages to evoke the golden age of steam. The Llangollen train’s are magnificent, the steam is hissing, the carriages resplendent. It reminds you this was a time when steam travel was how everyone travelled in Britain.

There is a passion and enthusiasm for these grand old steam engines

Rather cleverly, has been turned into a successful business for restoration. We got a sneak peak at the restoration yard, as one of our party had vital information on a train they’d just acquired – and we were met by a dedicated group bursting with the knowledge of the past. It was a delight to see this being brought to bear with a younger equally enthusiastic generations of drivers and stokers (you definitely need someone with energy to keep that fire going for the engine!)

All aboard!

The journey you take is magical, with the gentle movement of the train, the noise and sight of the steam trailing back over the roof, next to the River Dee for much of the journey, and through some of the most beautiful & scenic countryside of North Wales. And there’s more good news – plans are afoot to expand the 7 1/2 miles of track even further, with a Corwen extension, including a new station, which is very exciting. And of course, there are a lovely tea rooms on the platform.

The murder mystery events are such fun

Other events that take place are murder mystery evenings. Depending on the theme, virtually everyone who attends is in fancy dress, it’s a wonderful sight to see, and a fabulous evening out, not too mention really reasonably priced. A pair arrived as a camel to our Arabian themed murder mystery! The evening starts with food served Platform 1 where the plot unfolds. Actors play out further scenes on the train & all you need to do is guess who, it is great fun! The next event is Saturday May 8th – The Baker Street Murders, where you’re invited to turn yourself into Sherlock Holmes for the evening to solve the mystery. The trains run most weekends and the journey is really wonderful, as well as a great idea for a mother’s day treat, so if you’re near North Wales, do go soon!

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Historically, this was a day when serving girls in Britain were given the day off to visit their mothers, take them a cake & spend time with each other.

You’ll know by now from the numerous blog posts to this site, Tea with Mary Kate looks to inspire us to take note of the ordinary & appreciate it for the extraordinary that it is, each and every day. Many of you will know that it’s Mothering Sunday on 14th March 2010 in the UK, but at many different times around the world. Historically, this was a day when serving girls in Britain were given the day off to visit their mothers, take them a cake & spend time with each other. As a child, I remember all the ladies of the church, actual mother or not, receiving a beautifully scented daffodil corsage. It was a very special occasion & the smell of that daffodil can still transport me back to being on the steps of the church on that Sunday.

While I feel it’s important to say thank you, I also feel there is such pressure, such expectation these days that it can swamp the whole Mother’s Day affair & leave it feeling more like a duty than something you’d choose to do

But I hope this blog does inspire you to choose something different, unique & special this year, & far from necessarily expensive.

On this day for some, it’s a time to remember their mum’s who are no longer with them – but more I think it’s a time to appreciate those in our lives who play the role of “mum” to us (& this could be someone different from your “official mum”). What I hope this blog post will inspire you to do is to choose to show the mum to you what they mean to you, when they’ve really supported you & why you appreciated it – after all, it is the simple day to day acts of kindness through which we show our love of others.

Taking or more boldly making Afternoon Tea

This could be at one of the many excellent Tea shop’s that we have (see my blog posts on Bettys Tea rooms & Peak View tea rooms). While I can say that would be a truly lovely treat, there’s also a decent chance of these places being very busy or worse fully booked – so for this day if you’re running out of options, how about making an afternoon tea for that special person? You could serve it on a cake stand if you have one, alongside a small bunch of beautiful spring flowers, with your creation of cake that you’ve just wrecked the kitchen making ( do tidy this up though as otherwise, it will be fair to say that the treat could perhaps be perceived to be a little misplaced!).

Alongside the cake, I would suggest to serve this with bread & butter with the option to spread lashings of apricot Jam (home made if you have it) & whipped cream, together with a hot pie (gooseberry was my personal favorite, the next being blackcurrant, with the deep purple sweet juice to serve with it). You could also cheat & order from the  Clifton Cake cafe which supply their delicious cakes for your special event if you are in the Bristol area of UK.

Clifton Cake cafe mothering Sunday Tea & cake

Another savoury option is to make the ubiquitous but gorgeous egg & cress sandwiches (do add my secret ingredient garlic salt when you make up your egg mix, trust me, you’ll never have egg mayonnaise sandwiches without this again once you have tasted it). I love old fashioned cheese & pineapple on sticks, with Quiche & other pies.

And of course,  a big, steaming pot of strong tea to warm the heart as well as the toes, in the most lovely cups that you can find, to make it an extra special treat.

Mother’s Day Breakfast Tea Tray – tea in bed is such a wonderful indulgence on Mother’s Day.

Another idea is to hit the ground running from the first moment with breakfast in bed for your excellent mum. This could ba a tea tray, with a beautiful cloth on it, again, a beautiful bunch of flowers would go just perfectly alongside toast, marmalade & for simplicity, boiled eggs are a rather good addition. A lovely bowl of fruit salad or favourite cereal could also be served, the treat being that’s all ready for them in a lovely bowl, with all the cutlery shining & ready to use. And of course, this would have tea, a perfect breakfast blend to accompany breakfast – I can’t imagine a better treat – tea in bed is such a wonderful indulgence on any day, especially on Mother’s Day.

Beautiful tea tray for breakfast

Home made Mother’s Day lunch

If you are feeling like being extravagant & totally going for it – make Mother’s Day lunch! Devise a menu, lay the table with a crisp cloth, a simple decoration of spring flowers – daffodils, snowdrops & the first tulips in miniature buckets would be perfect. Even ivy laid trailing around the table is very effective at bringing spring indoors. You could print/write a menu, make little place cards, with the “mum” place card having pride of place.

And then serve your lunch. I’d go for a simple starter of homemade soup, or a fresh salad with grilled goats cheese or smoked salmon. Followed by a roasted main course, so yummy it is difficult to beat – roasted veggies are fabulous – do put in a little crushed garlic & I promise you they will taste gorgeous! Finally, a baked pudding of some sort is a lovely finish – but the sky’s your limit – make all their favourite food!

Mary Kate welcoming Sean & her brother to supper

If you’re far from home

Then do send a card, & perhaps some flowers & chocolates, but next time you’re together, have a “Belated Mother’s Day”, so you don’t miss out on the chance to say thank you.

I wanted to finish this mother’s Day treat’s blog with this lovely illustration of “A very Victorian tea party” from MME illustrations, a great idea for a mother’s day gift!

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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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