I love cake, I love corsets and I love being involved in a charity event.
Astra from Timeless Couture has a close friend, Robyn, who has recently been diagnosed with cervical cancer. She is only in her mid 20′s. One of the charities who has been very supportive and helpful to Robyn is The Mercedes Curnow Foundation who promote awareness of the early detection of cervical cancer in young women and funding private screening & hpv tests. They are fighting to lower the age of cervical screening in England from 25-20. This is something Robyn feels passionately about.
To show support and love for Robyn, Astra decided to organise an event that would involve her family and friends and to hopefully raise funds for The Mercedes Cunrow Foundation. Corset design is a love of Astra’s and her exquisite, bespoke pieces combine vintage inspired details and modern contempoary shapes. She partners Rachel at Timeless Couture and together they create beautiful bespoke wedding dresses, two of which you can see in the main photograph above . Robyn was one of the models in our photoshoot with Timeless Couture earlier in the year, see the gorgeous girl on the telephone above…so it seemed perfect to combine a corset photoshoot with afternoon tea at a special venue.
It was a ladies only day (for obvious reasons!, as Astra put it “no smelly boys”) and all the guests had the opportunity to be involved in the photoshoot.
This idea grew into producing a corset calendar which would be sold to raise further funds.
Stancliffe Hall in Darley Dale offered us the use of their venue, completely free of charge, which was an incredibly generous gesture. It is an outstandingly beautiful privately owned Hall, set in over 50 acres of stunning parkland in the heart of the Peak District.
The photography and styling for the shoot was left in the hands of Emma from Ms Honey Boudoir, who also owns Emma Cleveley Photography. She donated her time, talent, sexy props & experience for the day.
Tineke kindly supplied all the flowers for the day and there were lots of raffle prizes donated by local businesses.
Darby & Joan provided the afternoon tea for the ladies and we donated two days to set up the venue and supplied our vintage china.
Some of the ladies were hesitant about stripping off and posing, but before Emma knew it there was a queue of ladies desperate to be transformed into a sexy siren for a couple of hours. It was credit to Emma’s skill and easy going presence that made the shoot such a success, guiding the girls through poses to flatter their figures and enhanced their best bits. Hopefully we can share some of these photographs with you soon.
Another charity who had been tremendously supportive of Robyn was MacMillan Cancer Support. Most people are familiar with the amazing work they do on a daily basis, providing practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care. A spokesperson from the charity attended to talk about their role in helping cancer patients and their families. Some of the funds raised on the day were donated to MacMillan.
Pimms, afternoon tea, a room full of great ladies having a well earned sunny Sunday afternoon to themselves, a beautiful venue, pants and bras flying around everywhere, laughs and tears and raising money for two amazing charities.
A good day.
Photograph of Robyn – Yvonne Lishman Photography
Main image – Emma Case Photography
Apologies for the pun on the title of this post – I am cringing myself, but it is better than the others I thought of…
Darby & Joan were invited to cater for an afternoon tea party at Kedleston Hall at the beginning of this month. The guest list was made up of 125 textile artists from the Second Turning Textile Group. The group had just opened their new exhibition at the Hall which is open until 22nd September.
Very broadly, the work & exhibition was inspired by the architecture, collections and landscape at Kedleston Hall and showed how rich, lively and versatile textiles can be.
Our menu was what we do best – finger sandwiches, teetering high layer cakes, fresh out of the oven scones, rich chocolate brownies and lots of tea. A simple menu, but one that we knew would be enjoyed and appreciated.
We had two areas to serve. We set up camp in the Orangery and had a handful of guests seated with us in there and the rest of the group were served in a marquee.
The weather was kind, the guests were very lovely, the atmosphere gentle and it was another great success.
Thank you to Kedleston for inviting us to work with you – it doesn’t get much better than working with The National Trust.
Not forgetting a huge thank you to Emma Cleveley Photography for capturing the day so beautifully.
I love working with Cathy & Susie from Vintage Chic Wedding Fair, their relaxed & feminine style is perfect for what Darby & Joan offer. Their 6th wedding fair was held last Sunday at The Centennial Centre in Birmingham. I have to say that I was exhausted when my alarm went off at six that morning as the previous day had been manically busy & the last thing I felt like doing was packing the car up again & driving for an hour. My aching feet, sore knees from wearing heels all day (I must be getting old!) & slightly fuzzy head all disappeared when I arrived at the venue. Wedding fairs are such light hearted, happy events & I had a fantastic day sharing stories with exhibitors & talking with brides & their families.
It was great to see many familiar faces as a few of the exhibitors have shown with the company before, Meeni, Whimsical Wishes, Passion for Flowers, Cotton & Crumbs & Vintage Twee were amongst the gorgeous companies showcasing their inspirational services & products.
For the first time, I am Staggered were exhibiting. I can’t imagine that many (or any!) men will be reading this blog, but for you brides who are, tell your man about this website & service. Invaluable, funny & relevant advice for grooms-to-be.
The overall feel of all of Vintage Chic wedding fairs has always been to offer brides ”vintage with a modern twist” inspiration & ideas. This is just our cup of tea.
The Centennial Centre was the largest venue the company had used & it was a big hit with everyone. It was light, bright & airy & it was transformed once the exhibitors got to work with their gorgeous styling ideas. Everyone had worked hard to promote the fair & as the doors opened at 11am, there was a steady stream of brides, grooms & their families. Yey!!
There were demonstrations throughout the day, Le Keux Events & Sarah Russell were busy with hair & make up, Fishee Designs brought along a brilliant photo-booth with props, My Craftea Day got crafty, My Dance Birmingham showed us all how to do the balloon dance (well worth seeing!). As always, Simon Partridge was there during the day singing, ensuring a mellow, relaxed & happy atmosphere.
If you missed attending the fair then you really did miss out as it was just fab.
Looking forward to the next one! xx
I was recently asked to speak on local radio (which terrified me, but I got through it!) about the renewed interest in home baking and how John Lewis last year saw a whopping 480% increase in sales of cake stands.
Darby & Joan hire cake stands as part of our event hire business and we also make bespoke stands to sell. A tiered cake stand piled high with sweet treats can make any table look elegant & can lift even the most humble shop-bought pastry into something worthy of a Parisian patisserie.
I have to say that the majority of stands currently for sale on the high street could be so much nicer, most seem to be made from cheap materials and by using uninspiring or ubiquitous patterns. So, either buy a genuine vintage stand, buy one of ours or from a similar company to us, or have a go at making one yourself. It is really simple, a few easy steps & you can have your own tiered cake stand, unique and designed by you.
Stuff you will need:
- plates, I generally use a tea plate, followed by a starter plate & finishing with a sandwich plate or saucer on the top.
- a three-tier cake-stand fitting, I buy mine from eBay. You can find chrome fittings which are quite contemporary, gold filigree ones for a more traditional stand and I have recently found a supplier who has coloured ones which are lovely.
- a tape measure.
- a cordless drill with a 6mm diamond head drill-bit.
- a pencil
First wash and dry your plates and then measure the diameter using the pencil to mark the middle.
I always drill my plates on top of an old wooden chopping board covered with a tea towel. Its really important that the plate doesn’t slip. A good tip is to pour a little bit of water onto your plate to keep it and the drill bit cool. If they get too hot…disaster!
Slowly drill through the middle of the plate. Take care when choosing your plates, any hairline cracks or chips can weaken the china and will result in…disaster!
When they all have holes in them, you can assemble the stand, starting with the bottom plate. Put a washer onto the screw (I use flat bottomed ones as the other kind can poke out too much and you will have a little wobble on your stand), and pop the screw through the bottom of the plate. Put a squashy washer on the top of this plate and screw on the cake stand fitting. Simply repeat this until all three of the cake stand rods have been attached.
I make two tier stands, three tier stands, four tier stands and love putting a teacup on the top of some of them for an Alice in Wonderland syle finishing touch. Perfect for sweets or little chocolates. (although I have to say that someone once asked if it were an ashtray…words fail me!)
There, thats my Blue Peter moment then…
Elton Old Hall is a beautiful Grade II Listed Manor house in Derbyshire,very close to Chatsworth House. They offer luxury self catering group accommodation in their amazingly gorgeous property. You can choose to do as little or as much as you like there, from the kid’s treasure trail to the Elton walking guide, from visiting beauticians to Go Ape – there’s plenty to make children, and big kids, smile. The owner of the property, Juliet, can recommend suppliers & companies who can come to you to offer a host of lovely things to entertain you.
Darby & Joan are happy to come to you at the house to prepare a vintage tea party. Have a look at our website for menu ideas and our gallery page to give you an idea of what we are about & how we work.
We can promise you won’t be disappointed!!
We are so so excited to welcome you to our new website - and can breathe again now it is ready. Many of you have been asking why it is taking so long (!) but hopefully now it is here, you will appreciate why it wasn’t put together in a couple of weeks! Our passion is vintage china & we hope that visitors looking for vintage chic inspiration for their vintage wedding, garden tea party, christening or vintage styled hen party will find something to hire from our English vintage collection. read more about our new website...