I love scouring charity shops and flea markets for second-hand finds and like many people I am a real crockery junkie. I can't resist a floral patterened tea set and I have a bit of a thing for tea pots too. But it's also really nice to treasure something that's been handed down to you, something special that's part of your family history.
My mum recently gave me this lovely tea set, which once belonged to my granny (my dad's mum). Up to then, it had been residing in a cabinet, ignored in the back room that never gets used often. It's not particularly rare or valuable, and, as you might be able to tell, it's a hotchpotch of two different sets.
You see my granny was one of three sisters and each of them was given a tea service as a wedding present from their parents (one in blue, one in green and one in pink). The pink set has gone to the other side of the family but I've gladly inherited what's left of the blue and green. Apparently my granny was quite clumsy by all accounts and therefore there's not much of the green set that's survived intact but I really like the way they look mixed and matched together. It's nice to use something that's been in the family too.
I used it recently when we threw a party to celebrate the royal wedding and as my mum sipped her tea from the cup, it must have jogged her memory. She said she could remember being served tea on this set the first time she went to meet her future in-laws. How lovely is that? And it's also a reminder that things should be used and enjoyed as often as possible, not just left to languish in a glass cabinet or hidden in a cupboard. Life is a relatively short party after all and you've got to make the most of it!
By the way, if you liked the look of the scones pictured, I can't take credit for them I'm afraid. My sister, who's the baker in the family, made them and they are amazing. She does the making, I'm more about the presentation and consumption (very important too). If you're interested, here's the recipe. They go perfectly with a nice cup of tea!
8oz self raising flour
2tsp baking powder
1 3/4oz butter
1oz caster sugar
1 3/4oz fruit
3 1/2 fl. oz milk
Method: Set the oven to gas mark 6. Rub butter into the flour and baking powder. Add sugar and sultanas then add egg and milk. Mix to bind. Gently press (don't roll) into a round at least an inch thick and cut out. Bake for 15 mins in a hot oven.
According to my sister, the pressing (not rolling) and the thickness of the dough are both key to getting your scones to rise nice and big. Serve with strawberry jam. Tiptree or Bonne Maman are the best if you ask me and use extra thick cream if you can't get hold of clotted. Personally I don't bother with butter if I have the previous two in abundance. Enjoy!!
Kathryn Sharman is a freelance journalist and copywriter. She also writes a blog.
Many thanks again for a wonderful guest post from Kathryn. You can see Kathryn's previous guest post here.