I love Afternoon Tea, it is my favourite thing to go out and enjoy with family and friends. So, when Daddy had the idea to recreate an Afternoon Tea experience at home, for the kiddies, I jumped at the chance. Did you know it’s National Tea Day on Tuesday 21 April 2020 too, so a perfect activity for the family. I think we made it look really authentic and the kiddies really loved it. Here’s what we did to make our special family Afternoon Tea at home during lockdown…
Setting up Afternoon Tea
The first decision was that Daddy only wanted to use what we had in the cupboards, no special trips to supermarkets for this. We had tuna, cheese and eggs and so that became the sandwich choices. Daddy had the ingredients for scones, cake and cookies, so that was the patisserie options sorted.
I did a bit of research about the tradition of English Afternoon Tea and discovered that it actually originates from Bedford, the 7th Duchess of Bedford who lived at Woburn Abbey came up with the concept. They didn’t have dinner until 8pm and she described a “sinking feeling” and ordered bread, cake and tea at 4pm to see her through. I thought this was fascinating, more so because we live a 30 minute drive from Woburn Abbey and love visiting there. Afternoon Tea became an occasion where people would show off their best china and table linen.
With that in mind, I got out our best china and set the table up for Afternoon Tea, complete with pretty menu on the stand and a fact sheet on the ezeepeel whiteboard. The whiteboard was a good idea as it gave us something to talk about, Noah very quickly worked out that the social occasion is 280 years old!
Our best china is from Bombay Duck, the beautiful Doolittle collection and it makes me so happy. It has a classic elegance about it, yet it feels modern. I love the gold detailing, gilded with gold speckle and solid gold details, it really is beautiful and cheers up any dining table. We used 4 tea cups and saucers, 4 plates, 1 tea pot, 1 sugar bowl and 1 milk jug. Isla loved it, she thought it was a real life version of the tea parties she plays with, with her soft toys and dolls. I cannot wait to get the set out again and do another family Afternoon Tea activity.
Making up your food
The key to making up your sandwiches is to keep it simple. Especially when you are making Afternoon Tea for the kiddies, you want to keep it basic and to foods they like. Apparently, coronation chicken is a traditionally sandwich flavour, but if your kids do not eat that then there is no point in worrying about it. We kept it simple: Tuna and Mayonnaise, Grated Cheese and Egg Mayonnaise.
Make your sandwiches up as you would normally, then cut the crusts off and cut them into finger shapes. I am not sure what it is about having sandwiches in this shape, they are much more appealing. Every finger sandwich went and the kiddies loved them.
Daddy baked the fruit scones and cupcakes fresh that morning. However, if you want to make these up on another occasion they can be frozen and then just bring them out the morning of your Afternoon Tea. You can make anything your family enjoy, if they prefer chocolate cakes then bake them, or if you want to go for fancy cakes and biscuits try macaroons. Yummy!
Once the food was ready we wanted to sit and eat quite quickly, there is nothing worse than when the bread gets a little stale. So we did the sandwiches last to ensure they were as fresh as can be.
Afternoon Tea checklist
Here is my quick checklist for setting up your family Afternoon Tea at home, a great activity idea during lockdown. You can set this up in your dining room or in the garden, depending on our Great British weather:
- Choose your sandwich fillings and make them up
- Choose your patisserie items and get baking (on the day or before)
- Print off an Afternoon Tea menu (size A5 will do and I used Canva Menus to create ours, download ours below)
- Add an Afternoon Tea facts poster for your kiddies to learn about the tradition
- Lay the table with a nice tablecloth (ours is oil cloth as it’s easily wiped clean)
- Get out your best china and set it out on the table (ours is Bombay Duck)
- Fill the sugar bowl with sugar and the milk jug with milk
- Fill the tea pot with 3 tea bags of your chosen tea