Sunday, August 15, 2010

Everything Stops for Tea!

It's no myth that in England we turn to tea in times of crisis. High drama is soon comforted with a nice cup of tea. We have an emotional attachment to the sacred tea leaf and the effects of taking it have an instant calming effect. Tears and tantrums can quickly be soothed away by 'putting the kettle on'. Gone however, are the days when the precious teas were stored in a locked caddy and had to brewed in a teapot. The invention of the teabag and our hundred miles per hour lifestyles have put and end to that. The ritual of stopping everything for tea, thankfully, has not.

Roses teacups by Royal Albert and ElizabethanDrinking tea is still a national institution. Nothing else can quite bring acquaintances together in the same way. Who hasn't exchanged a bit of gossip and news with a good friend over a cuppa and a slice of cake? We've been doing it as long as there's been tea and china. So let's celebrate the custom of afternoon tea. Set the scene, arrange your table and show off your tea set. Invite your close companions and enjoy an hour of good natured refreshment.

Royal Standard vintage tea platesYou'll want to serve your cucumber sandwiches and strawberry shortcakes on an exquisite English china tea plate. The elegant set shown above is by Royal Standard 'Harry Wheatcroft' Roses. It's as pretty as a summer's day.

vintage cake standTaking tea has never been the preserve of high society and the rich. Tea brings us together. It's universal appeal managed to transcend the barriers of class and income. Afternoon tea is a ritual open to everyone. Serve it from fine translucent china in a dainty teacup and experience the delicacy of good taste all year round.

Rose scented teacup candleWhen the evenings draw in and nights become long, what better way to bring in the essence of summer with this Royal Albert 'Louise Marie' teacup filled with a rose scented candle? When the candle is finished it can be added to your tea set or used decoratively by popping in a tea light.

pretty vintage teacupsThere are so many gorgeous patterns available that each of your friends can use the teacup that appeals to them most. Knowing that grandma and her grandma may very well have used the very same cups and saucers is a wonderfully nostalgic feeling. Many things have changed over the last hundred years, but there is also comfort and connection in consistency.

pretty English china vintage cake standGranny probably didn't have a teacup on the top of her cake stand but I'm sure she would have approved. Ever since the revival in the story of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party we each want to own something a little bit quirky and most certainly unique. The beauty of finding one off vintage pieces is that you can guarantee that you will own something that no one else will have. Why enjoy one gorgeous pattern when you can ten or twenty?

Royal Albert teacupsThere are a variety of cup shapes available. The above is a Royal Albert 'Moss Rose' teacup in the 'Montrose' shape. It's extremely elegant and reminds me of a tulip flower. It has a lovely tactile feel and fits beautifully in the hand. Well, let's be honest, who holds the cup by the handle with their pinky finger pointing out? Oh you do? You are very refined ladies.

English mixed china teacupsIf you're seeking a vintage tea set for your own afternoon tea party we have a superb collection for you to choose from. We carefully select colours and patterns to create our beautiful tea sets and match the cake stands, jugs and sugar bowls and teapots too. Please do take a moment to look in our ebay and notonthehighstreet shops. We will have our own website shop available at the end of August.

vintage tea set....and don't forget. Make time for tea!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Stack Up for Summer!

At last! The grey clouds parted and the sun smiled upon us this evening. A real glimpse of summer if not briefly. We're crossing fingers and toes in hope of some warm weather soon. The irony is that we have a hose pipe ban in force here in the north west of England and yet it's hardly stopped raining it seems in over a month. The potted plants however, are withering from thirst and we've simply been far too busy to find a moment to water them. *Note to self and mother* Must not neglect the allotment and garden. Vintage china must not take over our entire lives!

I'll let you into a secret. We have been run off our feet preparing a new website which is due online very soon and I'm going to let you have a sneak preview of some of the tea sets we have created over the weekend ready for the store. Since the sun made a rare appearence we instantly started to dream of picnics on the park and high afternoon teas in the garden.

Pretty pastels and fresh flowers were combined to create a cheerful tea set just perfect for fitting into a picnic basket. The cake stands are so easy to take apart and reassemble. Imagine placing that on a blanket on the beach and piling it high with pork pie slices and scotch eggs! Why not picnic with panache?

teacup stackHow many tea cups make a stack? Well in my estimation it's approximately three. I had so wanted to make a tall tower but that would have been a very bad idea indeed.

vintage tea cupsOnce I'd got started I clearly couldn't stop. I just love the way the patterns on the tea cups are enhanced when put together this way. They would display wonderfully with some nicely weathered shabby chic items in that gorgeous country cottage kitchen that exists in my dreams.

teacup topperThe above is an Art Deco period Burgess Bros. teacup and saucer sitting very comfortably at the top of a matching three tiered cake stand. Such a sumptuous design overpainted with lashings of gold gilt. Quite lavish! Now then, what to fill it with? Chocolate fingers or crudités with a tasty dip around the edge in the saucer?

teacup and saucer stackAnother tea cup stack in a wicker basket. Just too pretty!

three tier vintage cake standA cake stand! No of course we hadn't forgotten about those. Trust me, cake stands here is like not being able to see the wood for the trees. This one was picked out because it's a personal favourite. It's not often that you come across such striking pretty patterns and particularly purple tones. The berry colour in the Royal Albert saucer is picked up in the handpainted floral design on the Adderleys base plate. It contrasts beautifully with the turquoise blue in the Royal Stafford middle plate. The pink roses on the tea cup complete the colourway and match with those on the saucer. You see, even so called 'mismatched' pieces work best with an element of co-ordination.

summer tea setPatterns are repeated in the above mixed vintage tea set to bring the pieces together as a whole. The colourway is based primarily on soft pinks and pastels. The fresh green in the cream jug echos that on the top of the cake stand. Of course you can be bold and mishmash the whole set with as much colour and pattern as your eyes can tolerate. However, it's fairly straightforward to continue adding to your collection if you choose to limit yourself to certain colours or patterns. Floral motifs such as ditsy roses naturally look lovely together as they would in the border of your garden. The principles are the same.

summer cake standColclough "Ivy" and "Enchantment" pink rose garland with a Dorchester "Dog Rose" on the top.

tea cupsI read that it's now fashionable to serve cocktails in tea cups! A very good idea though I'd leave it until evening if I were you. A liquid lunch is fine but take note that the china holds more than you might imagine! Steady now!

colourful tea setLastly, let's finish on a medley. No I'm not about to burst into song (you'll be thankful for that). We have here the ideal gift for that friend who looks upon your vintage china collection with envy. A vintage mistmatched china medley beautifully presented in a gift box. Also included is a scented candle teacup and saucer which can be reused for a nice cup of tea (or Pina Colada!) when it's finished with. The pieces can be added to an existing mixed set or make the beginnings of a new one. You may wish to add your own written warning if giving this as a present to someone special.... "Caution - Collecting vintage china is highly addictive!"

vintage medley gift box

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