Friday 21 September 2012

Guest Post - Afternoon Tea and Vintage Inspired Homewares

Today I am handing over the reigns to my lovely School friend Carol, a fellow afternoon tea lover. She is also a very talented lady who makes pretty Vintage-inspired, handmade designed products for the home.

Like many of the women I know, I love afternoon tea. I love the prettiness, the tradition and the fact that, for many of us, it’s a rare chance to take time out of a busy schedule to meet with friends, spoil ourselves and do something refined and relaxing.

It’s believed that credit for this ritual goes to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. Apparently, in the early 19th century, evening meals in grand houses were served late in the evening. In an effort to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner, Anna began ordering tea, bread and butter and cakes to be served, to stave off the hunger pangs. The idea soon caught on in drawing rooms up and down the country. What better excuse to invite your elegant friends to put on their best hat, and visit for cake and gossip?

Apart from a love of afternoon tea and pretty frocks, I don’t have a lot in common with 19th century aristocrats (more’s the pity). However, like the ladies of the time, I do like to sew. That, plus a minor obsession with retro fabrics and vintage china, meant that it was probably only a matter of time until I began making vintage-inspired homewares. It started with tea cosies, then matching tea towels, and suddenly I was creating one-off, handmade pieces that were reminiscent of the classic kitchens of the 1950s. Baby blues and pretty pinks, polka dots and ginghams and florals.

There’s something special to me about taking the time to warm a teapot, to put the milk in a pretty jug; cutting the crusts off the sandwiches and arranging cakes on a cake-stand; putting a cosy over the teapot and waiting until it’s brewed just right. Our lives are so busy that we often don’t get chance to indulge in frivolous rituals, to make things pretty, or to take our time. But somehow, since Anna first devised it, the custom of afternoon tea has survived.

So I keep making pretty, retro tea cosies and tea towels and, as I don’t believe coffee-drinkers should be excluded, I’ve started doing cafetiere cosies too. I like to think that I am sharing that moment in someone’s life; that few minutes of “me” time, when they stop their day and put the kettle on. I like to think that Anna would approve.

If you’d like to see more of my work, please visit me at or

As my grandfather would have said, “If in doubt, brew up”. I’m off for a cuppa.

Carol x


  1. Love the idea of cafetiere cosies!Great guest post and very pretty handmade products. Love Afternoon Tea so much I used it as the main meet up of my characters - using The Cake Hole Cafe at Vintage Heaven as the location (with which I have no connection - just fell for its charms) and also the burlesque Afternoon Tease at Volupte! Slightly different venue but same edible delights. Looking forward to reading more of your blog Bettina, Jules Aspinall

  2. aww these are so pretty and delicate.. i must admire your sense of classic aesthetics..


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