Thursday, 10 January 2013

Meet our Favorite Magazine "Pretty Nostalgic"

Song: ' a foggy day' by Louis Armstrong
Tea: Darville of Windsor Earl Grey. (best tea brand we have found so far)

Hi Tea Fans,

I thought i would let everyone know about a special magazine that we just adore at Tea Vintage.
"PRETTY NOSTALGIC' You can now get the monthly magazine in WH Smiths now which is great.

We met the ladies behind this magazine last september at the Epsom Racecourse Festival of Vintage.
We were hosting our Tea Vintage Travelling Tea room and were on out last legs that day with an unexpected 3,000 people attending the event and we were 3 team members short due to illness! still as they say keep calm and carry on. Thats just what we did and the lovely ladies from Pretty Nostalgic were hosting their stall next to us and saw we were covered in queues of people 40 deep!

In pure kindness and being such thoughful ladies, they offered to help and took turns to clear tables and wash up.

for 5 hours!!!!!!!!

Once the last cup of tea was drunk and the last cake was eaten, we sank into a chair for our first cuppa of the day and couldnt thank the ladies enough. we then chatted and heard all about this brilliant magazine.

It really is the first proper vintage devoted magazine out there. The style of the magazine and the content really oozes old style perfectly.  The paper its printed on feels like reading an old novel and look of the magazine looks almost textured on every page. It even smells like a library!
There are lots of articles about crafts, upcycling, food, gardening, events, ... the list goes on.
You can really tell the work that goes into this magazine has come from a group of people that dearly love all things old, the art of making the most of what you already have and appreciating the real things in life.

Keep it up guys!

So to all people out there that are fed up of these magazine that showcase a pretty vintage front cover and then fills the pages with soulless adverts (we know the ones!)
enjoy a breath of fresh air and pick up a copy of "Pretty Nostalgic" or even better subscribe to a years membership.

a perfick read with a good cuppa

Until next time

Everything stops for tea

Tea Vintage

Thursday, 22 November 2012

In the life of the N.A.A.F.I

Tea Brewed: Ceylon (mmmmm yum)
Song: 'The nearness of you' by ella fitz and louis armstrong

Hi tea Fans,

I found this diary story online when researching the NAFFI during ww2 and adored this ladies personal experience of the days in the war helping keep the troops going with tea and food. This was the days before generators and lpg tea urns which would seem like a nightmare to most outdoor caterers today. Running a travelling tea room in the middle of a festival field has its issues and takes tremendous hard work but nothing compared to what these amazing hard grafter ladies did for our country during the war.
Please take 5 mins out of your day today with a cuppa and read this.
Rhoda Woodward, if only our society today all carried your hard work attitude and efforts. x

In 1942, I was working in a factory making surgical corsets. I didn’t
like it there very much, but in the war years you could not leave your
place of employment without special permission. So I was more than
pleased when I was 18 years old, and had to go and register for War
Work. While I was being interviewed, I had said, that before working
in the factory I had served teas in my mothers small tea shop, which
had since closed. My fate was sealed.
I was given the relevant forms and literature to join the N.A.A.F.I.
Having passed my medical, I then had to get a passport photograph for
a special identity card, that would allow me to gain entrance to
military camps.
My first posting was to a Royal Air Force camp about eight miles from
home. I arrived on my bicycle at about ten o’clock, and was then
issued with a cap, overalls, sheets and blankets and told to make my
bed. I was rather dubious when I found that it had lost a leg. It was
propped up with a biscuit tin, but tins were tins in those days and it
did the job.
I reported to the kitchen, a small Nissen hut, on the side of a larger
one, which turned out to be the W.A.A.F. canteen. Morning break had
just finished and it was now the staff coffee break. It was a very
large kitchen with four large sinks, two on each side. In the centre
was the biggest kitchen range I had ever seen. There were also, two
large scrubbed top tables, and a smaller one with an aluminium top.
This was called the beverage table. It was used for making tea and
coffee etc. It was one of my many jobs to keep that table top highly
polished with whitening.
I was just finishing my coffee and getting to know Nellie, the other
assistant and the cook, when this voice seemed to come from nowhere
“All R.A.F. personnel will assemble in the W.A.A.F. canteen, at
1930hrs. The bar will remain closed.”
This was my first experience of the Tannoy. It was something I would
soon to get used too, as in all military camps, we were never too far
away from a speaker. They were even installed in the bathrooms. Our
manageress laughed.
“You will have an easy night tonight.” she said.
Nellie looked up and answered.
“Yes.We’ll have to keep the kettle boiling, just in case we have any
bodies.” I kept quiet, not liking to ask what was going on.
I soon found out what they were talking about. A couple of young
airmen were brought into the kitchen. They had passed out during what
I thought in my innocence, was a first aid lecture. I was then
informed that it had been a men only lecture on Venereal Disease.
At the lunch-time break, I was shown how to weigh the tea and coffee
into white cloth bags, ready for putting into the tea urn and coffee
pans. I began to adapt and was soon out on the bar serving. In the
mornings, I had to be up at 0700hrs, to rake out the flu’s, clear the
ashes and get the fire lit. The kettle had to be boiling on the big
old range, so the girls could have a morning cuppa at 0730hrs
The cook would have breakfast ready for 0800hrs. Then there was the
bar and our billet to clean. The cook had to get about 200 cakes ready
for morning break. Everything was done on those ranges. There was
always a constant supply of hot water for the tea urns and large pans
of coffee. The only electricity we used, was for the lights.
After morning break, there would be more cleaning to do in readiness,
for the lunch break. During this time, the cook would be making pies
and puddings for the evening suppers.
One of my jobs, was to make sure that the big yellow boiler was kept
stoked up with coke.
“Watch the dial.” I was often warned. “Watch the dial.”
Nobody told me why, until one night I found out for myself. It began
rumbling like thunder and spat all the hot water, out onto the roof.
It didn’t stop until it had completely emptied and filled with cold
water again. As you can imagine, I wasn’t very popular that night. It
was nearly closing time and we still had all the washing up to do.
We used to serve about 200 suppers a night. Each one having to be
carried from the kitchen through to the bar. We also sold beer. It
came in quart bottles and there was a special way to tip the glasses,
so that each one, held a full pint. You could soon hear the loud
complaints, if someone had a short measure.
Sweets, soap and cigarettes were all rationed. We had to collect
special coupons. We were sent an assortment of brands which were quite
unheard of: Robins, Walters and Sunripe are three that I remember. I
think that the ration may have been 40 each, twenty of the more
popular brands like Players, Craven A, or Senior Service and twenty of
whatever else we had. Most of the girls would just take the well known
brands, so we used to keep the rest in a box for the lads.
We got into trouble one day when the supervisor was paying us a visit,
as she’d heard one of the airmen asking for cigs off ration. I told
her, that we had already collected the coupons. She knew what was
going on, and told us to make sure that we sold them to the
W.A.A.F.’s. first. Then the lads could have them.
Occasionally we got a consignment of cosmetics. The girls always had
first choice, but after a week, they would be available to the airmen,
to buy for their wives.
It was always very hard work. Some of the larger N.A.A.F.I.’s had more
staff, but the girls often got posted or left. We really needed our
three hours off in the afternoon; although we had to take turns in
starting back half an hour early to get tea. We had one day off a week
and one weekend a month.
There were no modern aids or washing up liquid. We just used to use
soda or dry powders like ‘Freedom’, ‘Vim soap’ and scrubbing brushes,
but as the saying was then “There’s a ruddy war on”, so we just had to
get on with it. Most of us hadn’t got mod cons at home anyway, so we
really appreciated having the luxury of a bathroom and hot water; at
least most of the time. We did have some hard winters though, when the
pipes froze and burst during the thaw. We really were flooded out.
Of course we got to know quite a few of the W.A.A.F.’s and airmen, as
they spent their evenings in the canteen. A couple of the camps I was
stationed at, had a piano and one or two good pianists. Once a week we
would have a camp dance, when we’d serve refreshments until 2130hrs.
We were convinced, that we would be too tired to go to the dance
afterwards but we went just the same. The manageress would usually let
our dancing partner’s come and help with the last of the washing up,
while we got ourselves dressed and ready.
We were lucky, we were allowed to wear Civvies. Our hair had to be
kept above our collars on duty. We used to make a head band out of the
top of an old stocking and roll our hair round the band. This style
was known as the ‘Victory Roll’. Afterwards, when brushed out, our
hair turned under into a pageboy style quite easily.
These evenings, were very romantic affairs, with aircraft lights in
the corners of the room, that shone onto a large mirrored ball in the
centre of the ceiling. The coloured reflection used to flicker
amongst, us as we danced to the R.A.F. Band.
Although we were not in an area suffering the air raids, we watched a
lot of the devastation they were causing, on the Pathe News at the
local pictures house. We heard of boys we had grown up with being
wounded, killed or taken prisoner.
At one camp, there was a lot of Polish personal. Often, the new
arrivals, had come straight from the Concentration Camps where they
had suffered terrible injuries from the torture. Many of them didn’t
have any hair. It was surprising though, how after a few weeks they
looked years younger and were wanting all the best makes of shampoo
and even hair nets. Their one burning ambition was to train as air
crew in order to return to the fighting. Some were just boys when they
were taken prisoner from their school. Probably because of their
parents politics.
We hardly saw the air crews, it was mainly at the dances. It was a
strange feeling seeing these young lads enjoying themselves, knowing
that maybe they would soon be flying off and getting killed within a
short time. We used to lay awake in bed listening to the planes taking
off or going over from other bases. I can still see so clearly in my
mind, how I sat up one night with the manageress, listening to them
flying overhead for the D.Day landings.
During those times there were laughter and tears. We seemed to live
for the post as we waited for letters from home, bringing news of
brothers, boyfriends and husbands. I can also remember how we all felt
one morning, when one of our staff received the sad news that her
brother had been killed.
At last, it all ended. We all gathered on the airfield, Officers,
Airmen and W.A.A.F.’s for an open air service, and as the camps
closed, we all went back to a very much changed, ‘Civvie Street’.
Things would never be quite the same again.
Rhoda Woodward.
Banbury. Oxen.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Tea Vintage and CARFEST

Tea brewed: chocolate tea
song choice:  'some sunny day' by Chick Henderson.

Hi tea fans,

Its been a while since i last blogged as tea vintage's kettle has not stopped boiling!  We have been super busy this summer and autumn and travelled with the tea room to some amazing events and have met some lovely people on the way. Now we are back home from the road for a few months so i can enjoy a cuppa while i blog.

I thought todays blog would report back on our favorite festival we exhibited at which was Chris Evans Carfest North.

A friend of mine (fellow tea fan!) heard about this festival on the radio while on the way to work early last year and called me straight away as it sounded like the perfect kind of festival for tea vintage. After a few phone calls and emails, Tea Vintage was booked in a prime spot in the main arena!!!

Carfest was created by Chris Evan's and his love for cars old and new. It was a brilliant festival all about family fun, food, music and goes without saying cars! All was in aid of children in need which is a fantastic cause!
The festival was held at two venues and we did both. First was at Laverstoke park farm in hampshire and the north was held Cholmondeley Castle not far from Chester

The north was 4 hours from our tea vintage base so with the tea vintage van, a rammed car of camping gear, an ultra cool VW campervan and of course the tea crew of 12! we headed up 'T' north for some more tea making.

The northerns sure do like their tea and they love to tip too. We served delicious victoria sponges, chocolate cake, carrot cake and cream scones with a massive selection of teas for our customers and they loved it.  One Family came back 3 times over the 2 days for a cuppa and some cake.
We went through just over a 1000 scones that weekend! mental!
Chris Evans popped in to see us at carfest south and loved the whole concept of tea vintage and agreed we should get tea back into england. He also tweeted me on monday evening to say how much tea vintage was a massive highlight to his festival. THANKS CHRIS ! He is such a nice chap to talk to and he does like a good cuppa.

Mary Berry came in to see us too and.... i had to keep myself calm as i LOVE HER! queen of cakes!
She stayed for ages and wanted to know everything about tea vintage. Thanks mary for those secret cake baking tips xx mums the word ey!

The whole atmosphere of carfest was like no other festival we had been too. it was like stepping back into the 50's. Everyone was so civilised and nice to each other. There was so much to see and do for all ages groups. Even the loo's were fairly clean! children played in hay bales, people could learn how to make jam!, there was a cake verses pies competition which gave this festival a vintage country show feel to it.  The cars too were just fab! chitty chitty bang bang was there, Chris magnificent 7 were displayed too along with tons of amazing vintage and sports cars. The old war planes belted across the sky too throughout the weekend which just stopped everyone still!
The music topped off the evenings with Texas, Paloma Faith, The Proclaimers, The Counterfeit Stones, Razorlight, The Magic Numbers, Merrymouth & The Ultimate Eagles.

So if you are looking for somewhere to take the whole family next summer. i would recommend Carfest.

Thank you for reading and below are some nice pics of our carfest adventure and also a few other festivals.

toodle pip for now and remember, everything stops for tea. x










Monday, 16 July 2012

Meet Mildred

Song choice: "Its turned out nice again" by George Formby

Tea Brewed: Rosehip and Raspberry Tea (not so sure mmmm)

Hi Tea Fans,

I thought it would be nice to introduce you to my best friend of all, Mildred. She is a vintage  Picador Tricycle. I found her needing a new home on good old ebay and fell in love with her.
Mildred got her name from the previous owner and when i picked her up i just couldn't give her a new name, so Mildred it was.

I first saw a tricycle when on my way into windsor a few years ago. A lady had one with her two children sitting perfectly on the back in their lovely private school uniforms. They were biking over the Eton bridge and I shouted out "I have to get one"
I love biking and me and daddy Vin would often take biking holidays to new forest. Then when we got Jenny our spaniel and not long after little Vincent was born, the baggage was to immense to carry on a normal push bike.

We did get a chair for Little Vin for the back of my mountain bike but i was so wobberly with him on the back and he never sat still in it. He would often throw is weight around and i was so scared i would fall off the bike so we gave up on that idea until that day that lady biked past me!

Thank you who ever you are as now i have Mildred. 3 wheels means i wont wobble or fall off!

 These pashley tricycles are so versatile. You can get two seats for the back of them and there is a space for a small trunk underneath the children to carry shopping or your picnic.
The original baskets at the front is big enough to hold Jenny Dog when we have to travel along a road to get to parks or fields so everyone is safe and happy!

I use Mildred nearly everyday, to pop to the shops, ride up to windsor for a quick picnic by the river and jenny gets to come too and either eat my sandwiches or roll is fox poo which ever is first!
People always stop to ask where i got the bike and what make is it and Im more than happy to pass on the information as i think any mother who loves biking should have one.

Here's some pics of last week popping to feed the ducks in Datchet.

Did you spot Jenny dog in the basket above? she is almost invisible in that picture! 

So if your ever in Datchet, keep your eyes out for us on Mildred popping to windsor for a shopping trip.

Until next time.

Everything stops for tea

Tea Vintage

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Everything stops for TEA

Song choice: Everything stops for tea by Jack Buchanan

Tea Brewed: Decafe English Breakfast (too late in the evening for caffeine)

Busy, busy, busy,  thats what most people will say when asked how they are these days including me!
Its so easy to get caught up in the bustle of everyday things and forget to take a step aside for a second to breathe or think.
Im the worst for this. Running two businesses and also a family home consisting of my gorgeous little 2 year old son, my partner Vincent and a crazy spaniel dog called Jenny, there isn't a moment to spare.
There is always someone wanted or needing something and i take pride in making my home as cosy as i can so you will often find me hoovering with the phone in one hand, little vin hanging on one leg and the dinner bubbling away (or should i say burning away) all at the same time.
This way of life keeps me on my toes but it was when i started to slurp my tea whilst doing two other things at the same time, that made me think.
I used to make my tea the reason for me to stop... just stop and sit, even if it was for 5 minutes to gather my thoughts together again.

When did a cup of tea become something else to do rather than a reason to sit and do nothing?

 I say this not to myself but to everyone on the go. And not just tea but coffee and lunch. Everywhere you go you can get things to go, coffee express, sandwiches to eat whilst perched on your lap on the tube!

I started to rethink a bit and made myself a strict promise to boil the kettle and take 5 mins out. Even if it meant turning my phone on silent, giving little vin a hugh chocolate biscuit, shoving the dog outside, this meant i got to enjoy my favorite tea... hot how it should be!

Years ago, afternoon tea would always be part of most people's daily routine, although people then seemed to have more time on their hands than we do today, they still had the right idea.

Here's a few attempts of afternoon tea with friends one afternoon when we had some time.xx

So i put it to everyone out there, when the kettle goes on, take 5 mins to take a step back and not think. not think of anything apart from brewing a tea and drinking it.

It may take years off us!

Until next time,

Everything stops for tea
Tea Vintage

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Victoria Sponge

Song choice to listen to: 'Dont sit under the apple tree' by Andrew Sisters
Tea Brewed: Earl Grey

Ok so living the life of Vintage and serving tea and cake a lot has meant i have had plenty of taste testing of cakes in my time. There are quite a few favorites for guests we see at events but the over all winner and most eaten is the Victoria Sponge.

History of the victoria sponge:

This Cake was created for the Queen Victoria in the 1800's. This cake was introduced by the Duchess of Bedford for Queen Victoria's afternoon tea (which was a new concept during this time) 
The Duchess invented tea-time initially as just a time of the day when her servants would sneak her a few edible treats, to last her until the evening meal. Around 4pm they would provide the Duchess with a pot of tea and some bread snacks. In due course the Duchess expanded her tea parties so that they included guests, small cakesand petite sandwiches.
By 1885 Queen Victoria was holding such parties herself and her guests were expected to wear formal dress. The Queen's sweet tooth soon guaranteed that the small cakes that were served became her favourites.
Fittingly these small cakes were called Victoria sponge cakes, and still are to this day.

My mum is the queen of the victoria sponge and it was the first cake i ever baked with her. She really knew how to get the most incredible light sponge. So here for you today i am sharing a few tips to get that perfect victoria sponge.

Sandra Finch's 5 top tips for Victoria Sponge

Dont over mix your mixture!
If eggs start to curdle, pop a sprinkle of flour into mixture
Too much baking powder can make the cake sink!
Use Eggs at room temperature not straight from the fridge
Spoon mix your mixture once when adding in your flour to keep the air in the mixture

So there we go but ssssssh dont tell everyone!  Im a firm believer that if you can master the victoria sponge you can get a basic understanding to all types of cake baking.

Now at Tea Vintage we have our very own Vintage baker Ewa Sparshott from 'Sugar and Chic' (i will be blogging about very soon) 
I met Ewa at our local children's toddler group with our little ones. Im so glad we met as she is the most amazing cook and so passionate about food and cake baking. Her attention to detail is perfect! 
When we were deciding on what cakes to bake for Tea Vintage we knew that the Victoria Sponge would be top of the list. We wanted to create something amazing to showcase this classic cake and after many taste testing and evening of research we ended up with Tea Vintage's 5 Tier Victoria Sponge!
This cake serves around 45 people and is perfect showcased in Tea Vintage's Travelling tea room. Its perfect for weddings as a great dessert for guests and also has been booked for lots of wedding cakes!

Covered in tons of fresh fruit and flowers is really is truely stunning. Ewa made use of my mum's brilliant tips for baking this cake and i have to say Ewa bakes the most lightest victoria sponger ever! 
We get such nice comments from our clients on not only the look of this cake but the lightness and taste  of it and Tea Vintage is very proud of it! Thanks ewa!

So when thinking of a cake to bake for afternoon tea or a cake to take over to visit a friend, consider the victoria sponge. You cant go wrong!

Until next time..

Everything stops for tea

Tea Vintage

Friday, 6 July 2012

Let women be women and men be men

Hi vintage fans,

Things have gone crazy with the Tea Vintage launch and have lots of exciting bookings this summer. We are hosting our Tea Room at Chris Evan's Car Fest on august bank holiday weekend and also the week after that Jamie Olivers the Big Feastival. Amoungst that we have some lovely weddings to do so its going to be an exciting summer.

Now the big thing on my tea ringed things to do list is my blog. i have so many things to chat about and show to you, i really want to get going so as from now i here by devote sunday evenings and thursday evenings to my blog and to you.  Even though its Friday evening, im going to start now as ive just brewed a pot and have doris day on spotify.

Song choice to listen to: They cant take that away from me by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.
Tea Brewed:  English Breakfast

Ok so i have always been brought up to be lady like (as my gran would say) She was always pulling me and my two younger sisters up on this, especially when hanging from a tree or burping after drinking too fast.

 "stand up straight, Stick your boosums out and bottom in urggh together!" she would say.

For years this was embedded into our minds and although it was so irritating to us when 8 years old, its always stuck.
Women in my generation are being brought up to be strong, independent and ambitious. This is brilliant as we are given so many opportunities now that our grandmothers wouldn't have had. The only thing i would say is we should try and remember to get a happy medium with this. Being Strong and independent shouldn't mean we loose the art of being female and lady like.

Ladies, you can have a career, be a working mother, drive trucks, become builders and plumbers, but every now and then, pop a bit of lipstick on, get your man to open the door for you, put on a pinny and stick your boosums out when walking! i promise you its brings you home to your natural instincts and also gives the men a chance to be men now and then.

So feel like this..........

But with a bit of this sometimes............

Until next time...
Everything stops for tea

Tea Vintage