It’s Always Tea-Time

Darby & Joan work with The Wonky Table Restaurant on Sadler Gate, Derby, offering something a little different for your celebration.We have styled many events there. Have the use of their private dining room & hire our vintage china & props to add some fun to your hen party, birthday celebration or baby shower.

We styled an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party at The Wonky Table in August and had to share some of the photographs with you.

The guest of honor was called Alice, her guests went to town with their outfits and their evening was finished off with a cocktail lesson.

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”


0:46 3 September 2012

Here’s one I made earlier…

Tips on how to make your own vintage china cake stand, vintage plates, metal cake rod and a drill!

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!

Setp by step guide on how to make your own china cake stand, using vintage china plates.

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.

Thats it!

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…

21:57 26 January 2012

A bit of a vintage do…

We are chuffed to pieces to say that Darby & Joan are working in partnership with Elton Old Hall in the Peak District to offer visitors a taste of our vintage loveliness.   

Elton Old Hall & Darby & Joan offer you a vintage tea party experience to remember. Derbyshire, Chatsworth, Midlands. vintage china hire, tablewar hire & styling for weddings too.



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 can come to you to set up and style a vintage tea party to remember. We can supply the vintage china & tableware together with the tea party menu to include cupcakes, layer cakes & sandwiches. Full catering supplies along with staff.


 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!!

18:30 22 January 2012

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