It only seems fitting that on our return from Italy, where we literally ate nothing but pizza, pasta and gelato, we were met with something quintessentially and irresistibly British (but still just as bad for the ol' cholesterol) - afternoon tea! It's hard to resist a set-up like this, and even harder to photograph it all before eating it.
I guess we should start by re-introducing ourselves. You remember my Christmas table post, right? The one with linen and eucalyptus and candles and crackers? The one where I came out as a self-confessed tablescape addict even though tablescape isn't a word that anybody recognises?
You do remember? Phew! Luckily we won't have to go into all that again. Not so luckily though I am still just as stupidly addicted to tablescapes and tableware as I was before. So without further ado, welcome to our second annual tablescape meeting, where today we are covering the basics of afternoon tea. Excited? Me too.
Today is the last day of Afternoon Tea Week, which means there were 6 days before this one where I could've been enjoying scones smothered in clotted cream simply because I'm British and 4 o'clock happens every day. But alas! We will have to make do with just one day - one day of cakes and finger sandwiches and scones and jam and magical things that happen between the hours of lunch-time and dinner-time.
I love afternoon tea SO much that I considered having it as our wedding breakfast. The day Tom proposed, he took me out for afternoon tea and a spa treatment and these two things together (along with a diamond ring on my finger) are probably the best combination of things ever.
Spode's Blue Italian range was launched in 1816 and I think you'll agree is pretty iconic, as oriental patterns go. That classic blue and white Italian countryside scene is recognisable anywhere. To celebrate over 200 years of production, Spode have released several, 'anniversary' pieces like the 200th Anniversary 4 Piece Entertaining Set - a traditional and timeless serving set for making any afternoon brighter.
Other pieces include the 200th Anniversary Hot Beverage Pot, photographed being held over beautiful Jumbo Cups below, because the more coffee the longer the afternoon tea. And the longer the afternoon tea the better the afternoon, generally.
Sitting down to eat the afternoon tea we had so lovingly prepared for ourselves, Tom and I couldn't help but feel richer than we actually are. I guess tiny little cake forks will do that for you. I promise I was much happier than I look in the photo below...it must have been the sheer concentration one must summon for the sacred act of choosing whether to eat the sandwiches or the scones first.
Our beautiful white lace tablecloth was dressed in some of Spode's finest tableware, including my personal favourite Spode Blue Italian Sandwich Tray, which we used for an array of fat, fluffy scones.
The other little details that made our afternoon tea so fancy were Pimpernel Blue Italian Napkins, Spode Blue Italian Champagne Flutes, Spode Blue Italian 2-Tier Cake Stand (a MUST-HAVE!), and a sweet Spode Blue Italian Jug.
Afternoon tea dates back, incredibly, to 1840! Apparently we can thank Anna, the duchess of Bedford, for our affinity with afternoon treats. Turns out she didn't want to wait until dinner time when the 4 o' clock hunger pangs started, and instead insisted on snacking, because why not when you're the duchess of Bedford?
How have you been celebrating afternoon tea week?!
*Products featured in this post were gifted for this blog in celebration of Afternoon Tea Week.