In time gone by, when the semester was still young and finals felt like a lifetime away, when hope was high and life worth living, I dreamed a dream that I would host a thoroughly British Tea Party to celebrate the end of my second year of University. I dreamed that my energy wouldn't die, that my profs would be forgiving. Then I was young and unafraid and blog posts were made and study time wasted. But the finals came at last with their ridiculously-long-essay-questions soft as thunder, and they (almost) tore my hope apart and (almost) turned my dream of a thoroughly British Tea Part to shame.
I am happy to announce that my exams and last minute assignments did NOT kill the dream I dreamed: at the end of a rather busy semester I summoned to strength to channel my inner hostess-with-the-mostest, pull out the fine china and sashay in the kitchen to the crooning voices of Perry Como and Doris Day. There was a 1950's English Tea Party to host, and this little lady - tired as she might be - was up to the challenge.
When I first had the idea of putting together this little shindig a couple of ago, I had very modest plans. A teapot, a few teacups, a cake, friends. Maybe a table cloth for the occasion, you know? And then Uni got to me. You see, I cope with stress by looking forward to things. Whether it be a new book, a trip to the cinema, or a day out, I like to have a little silver-lining to focus on or an incentive to encourage me when I am feeling worn down. Well, this past semester was pretty darn good at wearing me down. It was my least favourite term so far, I had some classes I was not enjoying, I was having to prepare for the intensity that is third year Fine Art classes - I was altogether lacking in the motivation department. So, when life sends you Shakespeare essays and Psychology exams and mammoth Printing projects, plan a Tea Party. Seriously. Sat in a three-hour night-time Psychology lecture with a rear that's growing increasingly numb? Mentally construct a menu full of the best British sweet treats. Revising in your bedroom for a looming Literature exam? Look up from those notes and imagine the perfect vintage display of your retro bits and bobs. By the time the day of the Tea Party arrived, I had planned a monster of an event that took my family and I a whole day to set up for.
I invited a small group of my Fine Arts friends from Uni with the request that they get their vintage glad rags on and bring their own teacups. I Union-Jacked the dining area up as much as I could and dug up old photographs of my Grandparents in the 1950's to stick on the walls. I gathered together all of the old British tins and memorabilia I could find and arranged them on the piano in a sort of shrine to the Motherland. My lovely family united to do all of the baking (I am afraid my only contribution was the cupcakes and they were a tad overdone). I found a fifties playlist on YouTube and pressed play, whipped out the red lipstick (hello again, Marilyn!) and with some housewife pearls round my neck, I was ready to go!
At the end of the day, I just enjoyed being with my friends. I feel very blessed to have come to know these lovely ladies this year at Uni. From stressing over deadlines with them to walking through the streets of Manhattan together, these girls have made my University experience so much better. Onwards and upwards into third year, ladies! Hurrah!
~ Menu ~
Victoria Sponge Cake
English Scones with Whipped Cream and Strawberry Jam
Lemon Drizzle Cake
Chocolate Cupcakes and Fairy Cakes
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Sandwiches
A selection of British Teas for the tea-drinkers and Caf-Lib for moi
Fizzy Pink Lemonade
Joyous and Long-Awaited Relief from Schoolwork
Dream the Dream. Host a Tea Party.
(Thank you to Breanna for some of the photographs!)