In this week’s blog I’m going to be talking about Afternoon Tea. A strange topic you might say for a Bead company? Not when you consider that our latest and most popular workshop day has become the fabulous ‘Crafternoon Tea’.
These fun packed days marry our most favourite things; Beading, crafting and eating cake! What’s not to like right? We literally craft all morning with Caroline, followed by a splendid tea with delicious sarnies and cakes. Then we Bead the afternoon away with me. Heaven! To find out more click here.
Now regular readers amongst you will know that I love nothing better than to find out the history behind, well…pretty much everything. So of course I had to research how and when afternoon tea was invented.
It’s believed that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 19th century invented the afternoon tea. In the Bedford stately home it was fashionable to serve dinner late, at 8 or 9pm (yikes!). In an attempt not to chew her arm off before her evening meal, it’s said that at around 3pm Anna began ordering a pot of tea with bread and butter to her room. Over time friends joined her for this little feast and they added small cakes to their petite menu.
The Duchess continued the custom on returning to London and soon word spread about this practical and now fashionable afternoon treat. It soon became a nationwide trend. Invites were sent to guests and more formal etiquette established regarding dress codes and attendance in general. The afternoon tea became an essential part of fashionable society, each meeting becoming a hotbed of gossip and local news.
Over time businesses cottoned on to this new popular pastime. In the Edwardian period afternoon tea became the playground of luxury hotels and high end department stores, such as The Ritz, Fortnum and Mason, and Selfridges. Tea was now served at four o’ clock and included small sandwiches, chutneys and other accoutrements.
Today you can find delicious afternoon tea menus in small cafes, local hotels and even some pubs. Grander affairs are still held at places like the Ritzs’ Palm Court or Claridges, and don’t get me started on the queue outside Betty’s Tea Rooms!
We’re finding that lots of people are booking our Crafternoon teas for group activities, like a hen do, birthday party or team building. It really is a lovely way to merge creativity, a good old gossip (like Lady Anna!) and delicious tasty treats.
To book your own Crafternoon tea just give us a call on 01778 344550. Or you can check out the workshop page if you’d like to join one of the regular groups. All are welcome, just make sure you’re hungry!
NB. Afternoon tea has always been a staple of every good period drama. From Pride And Predjudice to Downtown Abbey there’s always a fondant fancy to be seen. It has been suggested that we create our own Riverside Beads movie. Now who do you think should be my leading man……?!
So that’s it for another week for me. I’m back on Create and Craft TV on Wednesday the 1st of May, so be sure to tune in.
Until next time, Happy Beading!
To see Donna on Create and Craft TV go to Freesat 813 Virgin 748 Freeview 23 Sky 683