January 26, 2016

Rule, Britannia!

Happy New Year from your favorite anglophile and Good Life blogger! Hope everyone is having a great 2016 so far. As my lovely bride and I look back on our first year of marriage, we find ourselves thinking about our wedding trip to London. One of the highlights of our adventure was tea in The Georgian Room at Harrods, and we wanted to ring in the new year by re-creating that experience as closely as possible. Who knew that Goodwill would help us make that happen with something as unlikely as a pickle set?

That’s right, a pickle set. I had never heard of one, either.

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For the uninitiated, a pickle set is a four-piece set of small serving bowls with lids, all resting on a sort of lazy Susan device. We were first drawn to it for the unusual name. (“Pickles? Why, my good man, we have an entire pickle set!) We realized soon enough that while we may not have any upcoming events that call for an assortment of brined vegetables, those little containers looked not at all unlike the pots containing jam, marmalade, and clotted cream (sounds awful, tastes like heaven) that accompanied our Harrods tea. A plot was quickly hatched to repurpose this pickle set as part of a fancy tea service.

A little searching even led us to rose petal jelly (thanks, Gourmet Shop) which added the perfect final touch of authenticity alongside the marmalade and cream. (We had to settle for Double Devonshire, as clotted cream is nigh upon impossible to find in Columbia, but it made a most acceptable substitute.) As it turns out, one of the four little pots had a broken lid, which worked no hardship, as we used it for the lumps of sugar.

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A perfect tea, of course, calls for the perfect teacups. While our house is pretty much overflowing with mugs, we wanted to find something special and a little bit different. Once again, Goodwill to the rescue! We found a few matching cup/saucer pairs, but decided we wanted to mix things up a bit, so we decided to do the entire table setting in mismatched bohemian chic. (Trying to compete with Harrods for sleekness and uniformity being pointless, after all…) The end result was a fun jumble of color and style, reflecting not only our sense of fun, but also the wide array of eye-catching tablewear available at Goodwill.

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We were almost there, but one thing seemed to be missing…aha! The soft flow of piano music that accompanied our special day would make the experience complete. Unfortunately, there were no baby grands on sale that day, nor were there any Goodwill employees offering to come home with us to play one, if there had been. As luck would have it, though, we were able to pick up a CD of easy listening piano tunes for only a dollar. Mission accomplished!

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The scones and pastries…well, those came from the bakery, and we’re all better off for it.

Hope this provides some fun ideas for those who might enjoy making teatime at home a little more of a special event. Cheers!

One Comment

  1. Great post! When our daughters were young, they loved having tea or hot chocolate parties with their friends. So for Christmas one year, I spent months scouting all of the Goodwill stores within 15 miles of our house to put together a unique set for them. I assembled a set of eight place settings each of which consisted of a beautiful cup, a matching saucer, and a matching lunch plate. Of course, I added a lovely tea pot and sugar & creamer, a ceramic coffee pot (for hot chocolate), dainty fabric napkins and a pretty tablecloth. I boxed it all up in a nice box with fancy paper and ribbon and those girls used those dishes right up until they left for college. They used them all the time, not just when they had friends over.
    I still scour the Goodwill stores for beautiful items for entertaining.