Sometimes an opportunity presents itself and your initial reaction is either:-
a) this is someone having a joke with me
b) too scary, too ridiculous and if it goes wrong…
c) that would be a great experience and I’ll go for it
d) what should I wear?
I went though all of the above within 5 minutes of taking a phone call from Erin, a researcher working for ITV. She was working on Country House Sunday, a series shown over several weeks, showcasing Britain’s most beautiful stately homes and showing off some stunning properties across the regions. The main presenter was Lynda Bellingham and her and her team of presenters explored local countryside, small businesses thriving within each region with an emphasis on antiques and food.
They were looking to film in Derbyshire and wanted to showcase a business who offered a vintage pop up tearoom and was a dab hand at afternoon tea. Which is why they got in touch with Darby & Joan. I was so so flattered that they asked us, but so so worried!
After recovering from the a), b), c) and planning d) what followed was five weeks of constant emails, phone calls and planning. Erin and I hit it off and she felt confident to leave the venue search and planning the day to me. We are the preferred suppler to several venues across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and have a great relationship with the owners and managers of the properties. I wanted to choose somewhere that I loved to work at, had something to offer, fit with the brief from ITV and was a beautiful building set in an area with history and interest.
I chose Portland House which was built in 1870, situated in Matlock Bath and had been restored to it’s former glory (and then some) by the owners, Juliet and Martin. Juliet’s response was yes before I had even finished explaining what was going on! It really is a gem of a property and is perfect for a special weekend away in Derbyshire.
We invited 25 ladies who lunch along with a couple of male guests who were more than happy to spend the day eating cakes and chatting with ladies.
Emma Cleveley was our photographer for the day and Kerry from Tineke provided the beautiful flowers. Claire Richards was hosting the show and we really had a giggle during the day. I got in touch with Richard from The Bespoke Bartender and invited him along because the house has the most amazing bar which was crying out for some handsome bartenders to make some cocktails. A couple of my closest girlfriends and my mum came for moral support and to help with the running of the day.
We set up the dining room as we usually would for a hen party or birthday celebration and prepared a lovely afternoon tea. The film crew were given a tour of the property and whilst this was happening I was interviewed by Claire about our business and what we do.
Lets just say it was a crazy crazy couple of days, ridiculously good fun and I am really happy and proud that we did it.
The programme was shown in the summer and there were some of my priceless quotes and stories that were shown that I will never live down (!) but I would do it again tomorrow.
Perhaps most importantly, my dress was a from the 1950’s and was made to fit me like a glove by the girls at Timeless Couture and was just perfect for the occasion.
Hello lovelies and HELLO SUMMER!
Fingers crossed for some sun this year so we can get out in the garden and enjoy some alfresco entertaining. This post is a round up of everything you need to create your perfect Summer Garden Party!
Of course! The perfect summer tipple to enjoy with friends. Make up a large pitcher with fruit and mint and, oh what time do you call that? …Pimms O’clock! Enjoy!
On a extra hot day why not make Pimms Ice Lollies? Refreshingly fruity, a little bit cheeky and definitely on my to do list!
Mix 1 part PIMM’S
with 3 parts chilled lemonade;
add some mint, cucumber, orange and strawberries!
Serve in… you guessed it! A jam jar with a stripey straw and sip away!
2. Strawberries & Sandwiches
Nothing says summer more than fresh strawberries and there are so many ways to use them! Serve them with cream, make some jam, decorate a naked victoria sponge or, for the green fingered amongst us, eat straight from the garden! Serve alongside finger sandwiches such as traditional cucumber or salmon and cream cheese for the perfect summer snack.
3. Beautiful Blooms
Where would a Garden Party be without some gorgeous flowers to put a smile on everyone’s face! Opt for a mix of wild flowers and roses in jars and vintage teacups for a subtle but pretty look. If you’ve got some fizz on ice, why not try adding some floral fun to the ice cubes? Tip. Boil the water first it will stop the ice cubes freezing cloudy so you can see the petals more clearly.
4. Music & Games
Every party needs a few games, and if you’ve got the space, giant versions of the classics are really popular right now. If you’re feeling crafty you can easily make a carnival style games like ‘Ring Toss’ and ‘Tin Can’ by recycling old jars and bottles and jazzing them up with a little paint or ribbon.
5. Comfy Areas
On a gorgeous summers day you’ll no doubt want to sit, chill and enjoy the sunshine. Create an area where you can do just that with patterned deck chairs and cushions. If the sun is particularly strong why not create a little shady hideout? Not just for the kids but a cool, comfortable place to grab a little shade in style.
6. Bunting & Garlands
Did you ever doubt it? Bunting, the number one way to transform any space and perfect for the garden! String above the table or attach to the fence for instant effect! For added pretty, why not hang ribbons or paper pom pom from trees or even get crafty and make paper chains with colourful paper.
7. Pretty Tables
You might be sat around your table for some time so it would be rude not to make your table pretty! Dress it with gorgeous vintage linens and lace table cloths and layer it up with pastel coloured doilies to add texture .
8. Vintage China
Serve your sandwiches and sweat treats on beautiful mismatched vintage or cake stands for the perfect vintage look. Add interest to the table by layering up different patterned plates and teacups.
9. Mood lighting
Those warm summer evenings don’t happen that often so make the most of them and continue the party even when the sun goes down. Tea lights in jam jars, fairy lights round trees and up-cycled tin cans create a magical feel. Opt for citronella candles to keep the bugs away and enjoy your evening.
10. Keeping Cosy
Keep the chills at bay with blankets or pashminas to wrap up in if it’s cooler at night. Why not start a campfire or light a chiminea for extra warmth. Roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate in pretty teacups will round the night off perfectly before bed.
So there you have it, 10 things to have at your perfect Summer Garden Party, all that’s left to add are some friends, family and laughter! As always we’d love to hear from you, what would you add to your party, share your ideas and garden party pictures with us we’d love to see.
A little round-up of the craft ideas we worked on with Chloe from Adore Chloe and Becky from Butterworth Photography.
We spent a couple of afternoons with a glue gun, vintage china, glittery bits and bobs, with a lot of tea and laughs along the way.
Next, we have a guide to making your own teacup clock – bear with me on this as it was so much fun that Rock n Roll Bride featured it too – click here Adore Chloe or here Rock N Roll Bride to see the cocktail version…
Finally glittery cake toppers – don’t say I don’t look treat you! click right here Adore Chloe .
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