Retro Chick Reviews The Vintage Tea Party (+ giveaway!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Last week I told you about the Party, today I tell you about the book.

The whole point of that launch was to “bring the book to life” and it certainly did that. I even recognised tea pots from some of the pictures.

The book itself is just as beautiful as the party, and incredibly inspiring. Essentially it’s a recipe book, with recipes mostly designed for parties and entertaining. It’s split into sections for brunch, afternoon tea, and evening parties, with recipes specific for each. Dotted amongst the recipes are tips on decorating, party games, a cut out stencil of the queen, instructions on how to recreate vintage hair styles and fashion and make up tips for the glamorous hostess. It even features instructions on making an art deco style apron to keep your clothes clean while you hostess.

My favourite thing about the book was how clearly Angel’s enthusiasm for the business she now runs and the entire idea of vintage comes across. Like many of us she clearly loves “old stuff” for it’s history and loves to put it to use and give it new life rather than simply collecting.

I decided, however, that the test of a cookery book is in the actual cooking. Beautiful yet not at all twee photography, enthusiasm and exciting sounding recipes are one thing. But can you actually MAKE them?

So I tried.

This weekend we invited some friends out for a picnic and I made the following recipes from the book:

Spiced Walnuts (they are a topping on a posset, but we had them at the party as finger food)

Cream Cheese and Cucumber Hearts

Tomato Mozzarella Balls

Lemon Scones

Sugared Fruits

Green Tea and Pear Cocktails

Green Jasmine Tea Bubbles

The official Retro Chick verdict is that Lemon Scones, Tomato and Mozzarella Balls and Spiced Walnuts are all disturbingly easy to make for how tasty they are and how good they look.

See. Yum.

Green tea and pear cocktails are only really slightly alcoholic and make an excellent fruity afternoon picnic drink (thought a bit too sweet to drink a lot of) and Green Jasmine Tea Bubbles are just as tasty made with cheap Cava as they are with the good champagne recommended in the book (and provided at the party) in fact, I may never drink Cava again without mixing it with cold Jasmine tea in a tea cup.

Cream Cheese and Cucumber hearts, although pretty, seemed to be far too much faff for the over all finished product (though my lack of proper heart shaped cutter didn’t help). I was also slightly disturbed by the amount of waste produced. Rather a lot of bread and almost the entire of the inside of a cucumber was left unused to be disposed of, which seemed wrong when there are apparently starving children in Africa who are desperate for cucumber sandwiches.

Sugared fruits were a disaster. I don’t know what I did wrong, but after a promising looking start all the sugar turned into a sticky liquid which slid off the fruit and pooled on the plate. I ate a couple and they tasted nice, but they looked like the aftermath of a stemmed fruit massacre and most of them ended up on the compost heap as no one wanted to eat them.

Overall, I think The Vintage Tea Party book was a roaring success for an amateur hostess who prepared all these items on a very busy Saturday morning without once bursting into tears. There are more elaborate recipes in there too for the more adventurous hostess, or the hostess that doesn’t have to pack her creations into plastic boxes to take to the park.

There are certainly other recipes in there I’ll try, and those Spiced Walnuts are just longing for Christmas time to come around. I also can’t wait to try mixing booze with other flavours of cold tea and trying out the other cocktail recipes. Boozy tea! What a revelation!

The good news is, that by a happy confluence of events I have a copy of The Vintage Tea Party book to give away to one of you lucky lovelies.

See, here it is:

To win this book and become the perfect vintage party hostess I just want you to be a follower of Retro Chick, and leave me a comment.

You can follow using Facebook, Google Friend Connect or RSS. Of course if you’re already following then that counts, just tell me how, and feel free to say other interesting things in the comment too!

The competition will stay open till Midnight GMT on Monday 29th August and the winner will be chosen at random.

If you just can’t wait that long to see if you’re a winner, then The Vintage Tea Party Book book isΒ£14 on Tesco Books at the moment, or visit my book shop.

98 Responses
  • Carrie at In the Hammock Vintage
    August 22, 2011

    This book looks fantastic!! Thank you so much for the chance to win!

  • Maxine
    August 22, 2011

    Want … Need … Must have …

    following via GFC as nursey!

  • Steph (mrs_sock)
    August 22, 2011

    This book looks fab. Pretty enough for a coffee table and practical enough for the kitchen!
    I love the idea of tea & booze, so pretty on a proper cup! I need some china!
    I follow you via google connect I think, and on Twitter, and if I lived in Norwich probably to the pub!

  • vicky prodrick
    August 22, 2011

    Going off to buy some now – going to put them with some cava and green tea and that three brithday presents sorted! (for next year of course!!!! otherwise I will forget about it)

  • Becca Sibley
    August 22, 2011

    I follow on Facebook!
    This looks delicious!! I really must try those nuts!

  • Roisin
    August 22, 2011

    Hi Gemma,

    I’d love to win this book – I follow your blog in my google reader and also follow you on twitter (@dolly_clackett) and google friend connect. I really like the look of the sewing patterns in this book, and the drinks recipes too! xx

  • rebecca
    August 22, 2011

    I discovered you only last month, but ever since I have been addicted and I am now a keen follower via my Google Reader πŸ™‚

    This book looks beautiful – I have already ear-marked it a place on the coffee table, so if I don’t win I’ll have to pop on over to Amazon! x

  • Kasia
    August 22, 2011

    I discovered your blog recently and now it’s one of my fav’s.

    Following via RSS.

  • Siofra
    August 22, 2011

    ooh this looks like a lovely book! I think I’ll get it even if I don’t win this one xx p.s following you on FB and Twitter

  • LandGirl1980
    August 22, 2011

    Don’t worry about including me in the giveaway – I do declare my copy has just arrived from Amazon. Harroos! I am pleased that things are makeable. I have a feeling I might very well be inspired!

  • Mr Chick
    August 22, 2011

    Your photos are excellent. I think the cucumber hearts worked well, we just need a less wobbly cutter. I also agree that bubbly jasmin tea is bright and refreshing, and will be great if there is anymore sun at weekends (rather than during the week when I am sat in an office). I don’t follow you online, but do following you around the house.

  • Laura (Loz)
    August 22, 2011

    Ooooh this looks fab. Am going on a girly picnic to watch an open air screening of pride and prejudice this week. Well it will be too late for that so if I win I’ll have to arrange another one!!! Great review too, loved reading it! x

  • K2
    August 22, 2011

    I’m a follower already. The book looks really interesting and I really want to try making the lemon scones. They look yummy.

  • Aislinn
    August 22, 2011

    I follow on facebook! Those spiced walnuts look fabulous and my mum is drooling over those lemons scones, but the thing that has me interested is the posset those walnuts are supposed to go on top of!

  • sharon griffin
    August 22, 2011

    i love all the vintage parafanaelia and especially love vintage tea partys, this book looks fabulous, am following on facebook too xx

  • Perdita
    August 22, 2011

    I follow you in my Google reader and on Facebook!

    I am very tempted by this book. The ‘nice’ part of me says to buy it for my sister who is all about home entertaining and being crafty…the naughty part of me says buy it for meeeee! πŸ™‚

  • Roxsie
    August 22, 2011

    Hey, I follow on FB, RSS and twitter πŸ˜€

  • Ali Bunn
    August 22, 2011

    That book (and your picnic) look amazing! I follow you of course, on-line, not like a stalker, and would just love to win a copy of that book. Do you accept bribes in the form of hand-made sock zebras?

  • Glamour_ologist
    August 22, 2011

    I was a bit late to the picnic so missed the food but all reported it was yummy.
    Don’t worry about including me in the giveaway – you can make things for me. Is good practice πŸ™‚

  • Madame Guillotine
    August 22, 2011

    I am now following via Facebook. I thought that I already was! πŸ™‚

    This is a timely review as I spied this book in Foyles at the weekend and have just added it to my Amazon ‘Most Wanted’ wish list despite not knowing what it is like! I’m more keen than ever to get hold of a copy now so I can try to veganize some of the recipes. πŸ™‚

  • Jess
    August 22, 2011

    Mmmmm nom nom nom! I’d like to create all those noms please.

    Following via RSS

    J xxx

  • Gemma King
    August 22, 2011

    Pleease let me win! I’d love the chance to have a go at those recipes, your scones look fab x

  • Lexie May McKenzie
    August 22, 2011

    Amazing opportunity! I am a serial baker and have been wanting to step it up a notch in a vintage style (its my dream to have a vintage tea party!) and this book looks the best way to do it! Thank you for the opportunity. I follow you on twitter and also on your blog.
    Happy Tea Parties! πŸ™‚ xx

  • Lexie May McKenzie
    August 22, 2011

    Amazing opportunity! I am a serial baker and have been wanting to step it up a notch in a vintage style (its my dream to have a vintage tea party!) and this book looks the best way to do it! Thank you for the opportunity. I follow you on twitter and also on your blog through google friend connect.
    Happy Tea Parties! πŸ™‚ xx

  • Lexie May McKenzie
    August 22, 2011

    Amazing opportunity! I love baking and having a vintage style tea party has been a dream of mine for ages but I’ve never known where to start,but if I had the book it would be amazing ! Would so love to win this book! I am following you on twitter and on your blog with google friend connect.
    Happy Tea Parties! πŸ™‚ xx

  • Amyhwasamyo
    August 22, 2011

    Two comments in a week-a new record! I follow you on here & twitter. Shall definitely be buying if (when!) I don’t win πŸ™‚

  • Sarah
    August 22, 2011

    I follow you on facebook and twitter. This book looks great! Will definitely be trying out the green jasmine tea bubbles.

  • miss rosette brune
    August 22, 2011

    me, me, me,
    I want this book!
    love your blog,
    very inspiring!

  • Gail Ann Thompson
    August 22, 2011

    Such lovely pictures!!

  • Paolla Wanglon
    August 22, 2011

    You haven’t really mentioned if the giveaway is open internationally, but I’m in if it is! I really do follow you everywhere! (Not in a psychopath sort of way). Well, facebook and RSS. I don’t really use GFC. Good luck to me! It seems to be a lovely book. Plus, I’ll get to throw a british themed tea party for all my die hard Dr. Who fan friends. πŸ˜€

  • Anna
    August 23, 2011

    I can totally see a tea-party in my future! Thanks for the giveaway.
    I follow via RSS.

  • rings90
    August 23, 2011

    This book looks GREAT I really MUST have it – I follow on Facebook & Twitter…

  • bonita
    August 23, 2011

    ~ * β™₯ * ~

    Wow, that book sounds amazing! I have my fingers crossed ~ I hope I win! Thanks for hosting this giveaway. : ) I follow on GFC as Bonita Vear.

    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * β™₯ * ~

  • Alice
    August 23, 2011

    Your lemon scones look lovely, I need to make a pretty apron and get baking! I follow you on Facebook and Twitter and I’m a big fan of the Vintage Norwich website.

  • Sarah Cockles
    August 23, 2011

    Angel is lovely. My daughter & I met her working on her cake stall in Spitalfields. Eve ended up doing work experience with her & had an amazing time. I would love to give her this book as she now works as an artisan baker all due to Angel.

  • Mim
    August 23, 2011

    Ooh, please enter me for the giveaway – I love baking, and that sounds like an ace book.

  • Fiona - Straight Talking Mama
    August 23, 2011

    Looks like a fab book! I do like the sounds of Green Jasmine Tea Bubbles YUM

    I’m not much of a baker, but I had rock cakes at a friend’s the other day and have been craving them ever since, your post hasn’t helped!!

  • Michelle - Creative Vintage Lover
    August 23, 2011

    Looks like a fab book! I follow you by RSS :). I’m actually throwing my sister a suprise ’50s style bridal shower so this book would be so perfect if I won it! But you’ve already given me a few ideas for food and drinks now!

    The sugared fruit look so pretty, it’s a shame they didn’t work out for you! At least they looked like jewels (from what I can see)!

  • Suzy
    August 23, 2011

    Sounds fabulous, thanks for the comp! If I’m not lucky enough to win this book, I’ll certainly buy a copy as I’m hosting my very first vintage tea party in November πŸ™‚

  • Tori
    August 23, 2011

    Oh that looks like such a beautiful book! That is going on my amazon wish list. Following through Google Connect but you are also part of my ‘Morning Coffee’ tabs which show up daily πŸ˜› The tea sounds amazing. I just need to find the occasion to try it now.

  • Meghan
    August 23, 2011

    I’ll try my luck–thanks for holding this giveaway!

  • Natalie Turner
    August 23, 2011

    Wow this book looks gorgeous, thanks so much for the review as well, good to know that it lives up to how pretty it looks! x

  • G-plan
    August 23, 2011

    Hello, I’ve been enjoying your blogs via Facebook and thought I’d try for your lovely giveaway. My china teaset has been crying out for a proper vintage party and I’d love to treat it a Green tea cocktail or some Jasmine fizz πŸ™‚

  • Rowena Miles
    August 23, 2011

    Would love to win the book. Looks Great

  • iain maciver
    August 23, 2011

    following and liked

  • Hannah Young
    August 23, 2011

    I follow via google reader.

    What a lovely book, thank you so much for the giveaway.


  • Rosie Alia
    August 24, 2011

    Blimey, the food looks delicious! Well done.
    Don’t count me in the giveaway, I already got me a copy from Angel. Just wanted to pop by and say YUM! I’m going to have to try some of the recipes once I’ve moved!

  • Kathy Vaughn
    August 24, 2011

    I follow you on RSS. I read you every time you blog. Love all your ideas and sharing of resources.

  • Franca
    August 24, 2011

    The lemon scones sound fabulous and I really want a chamapgne cocktail now, even though its only 9am!

  • gabrielle svensson
    August 24, 2011

    What a lovely book!
    I’m following via GFC as kittysclearance

  • Helen Wood
    August 24, 2011

    Amazing giveaway! I follow you on FB! πŸ™‚ xx

  • Michelle Marie
    August 24, 2011

    A good friend of mine recently sent me a link to here on Facebook, and ever since I have been absolutely glued! Not only do you have the type of vintage life I aspire to have (oh, to live in the UK *sigh*), but you have a real talent for writing and presenting the perfect images to entice and please your audience.

    I’m also now a follower, and a Facebook “fan” πŸ™‚

  • Kirsty Fox
    August 24, 2011

    I am following on Facebook (Kirsty Fox) and via GFC (robertfox24). This book looks fantastic and will look great on my shelf!!

    August 24, 2011

    I follow on facebook. If I win me and my friends are going to get together and attempt lots of the stuff

  • Lux
    August 24, 2011

    My best friend Coco hosts excellent tea parties and, while I’d love to give him this to inspire him, I’d also quite like to take a shot at upstaging him.

  • Nathan Drury
    August 25, 2011

    wonderfull, did you know buntin is the new cup cake πŸ™‚

  • Samantha Whistler
    August 25, 2011

    The front of that book is gorgeous! I follow you on facebook πŸ™‚

  • Christine Johnson
    August 25, 2011

    Following on facebook, love the book fit for a king

  • Emily Fowler
    August 26, 2011

    Already follow on Facebook! The book looks great, and love your blog, I could spend hours oohing and aahing over the lovely stuff, but, damn you, you make me want to spend all my money on pretty things!

  • Natalie Holland
    August 26, 2011

    That book looks absolutely gorgeous…I think I would walk over hot coals for a copy lol…I am following you on facebook! xox Natalie Holland xox

  • Annabelle
    August 26, 2011

    This book looks fabulous! I’m following you by RSS and Facebook.

  • Wendy Buchta
    August 26, 2011

    Following you everyway which way I can (well, fb and twitter at least).

    I love the idea of the bubbles, so much that I may see if aldi has a nice bottle of cava to make it with for the weekend.

  • Emily Hutchinson
    August 27, 2011

    I’m following on GFC – thanks, those lemon scones sound gorgeous πŸ™‚

  • Heather Gutowski
    August 27, 2011

    Following on facebook. Judith sbooks

  • Maralyn
    August 27, 2011

    Love what you have been writing and the book is great – an eye-opener and an inspiration at the same time.

  • sue willshee
    August 27, 2011

    I’ve liked your facebook page πŸ™‚
    really pleased to see that your business has taken off so well. Brilliant!

    August 27, 2011

    I am now following your page please add me to the draw and wow love the idea of Tomato Mozzarella Balls simple but stunning

  • emma speers
    August 27, 2011

    I have a slight obsession with baking lol, and a collection of recipe books but not just any books, the ones that have a vintage look about them! A perfect giveaway for me πŸ™‚ I am following you on facebook…

  • Hazel Christopher
    August 27, 2011

    Am following via GFC and also just became a fan on Facebook, have only just found your blog and I love it already! The book looks gorgeous too, I’m a big book fan and adore the imagery used in it. Thank you for the lovely giveaway x

  • Laurie Callsen
    August 28, 2011

    All of those treats look absolutely delicious!
    PS I follow you through RSS and Facebook πŸ™‚

  • phyllis ellett
    August 28, 2011

    Just followed you via GFC. What a great site, shall enjoy the next few days reading through you archives.

  • va
    August 28, 2011

    gfc follower
    tumblemumbo at
    love jasmine green tea without the alcohol .

  • Christina
    August 28, 2011

    Have followed and liked and brings back some lovely memories

  • Maya Russell
    August 28, 2011

    I follow using GFC as M.

  • Hannah Richards
    August 28, 2011

    Oh GOSH those lemon scones look so incredible I could die.


    Following on fbook as Hannah Maria πŸ™‚

  • Sheri Darby
    August 28, 2011

    Love to win this

  • Judy Beba-Thompson
    August 28, 2011

    I’m following! And I wished I lived nearer to guinea-pig your recipe try-outs!
    Happy Bank Holiday x

    • Judy Beba-Thompson
      August 28, 2011

      Ooooh, forgot to say I’m following on GFC as Goldberry x

  • Nazia Akhtar
    August 29, 2011

    Following on Facebook! This looks like an amazing book!! I’d love to win!! πŸ˜€ x

  • Erica Price
    August 29, 2011

    Subscribed to your RSS feed. The book looks fun.

  • Katherine Coldicott
    August 29, 2011

    Follow with GFC and like on FB

  • Louisa
    August 29, 2011

    My afternoons will never be the same again – neither will my green tea. Your review had me salivating – in a very feminine way, of course. Imagine the possibilities if I had the book to drool over.

  • Lynne Kelly
    August 29, 2011

    This book looks amazing …. right up my street! Great blog too!

  • Gwyneth
    August 29, 2011

    Hi! I’m following on Facebook and via GFC! This book looks great!

  • gill
    August 29, 2011

    Have the pinny, the tea trolley – just need the book!

  • Kat got the cream
    August 29, 2011

    Oh I have heard so many great things about this book, would love to win a copy, thanks!

    I follow you using GFC and on twitter @katgotthecream

  • Denise
    August 29, 2011

    You’ve made this book irresistible! What lucky friends you have. I’m a sucker for lemon and tomato and mozzarella. I’ve wanted to do a vintage tea party for my daughter so I’ll get the book either way.

    Following on FB and Google Friend Connect.

  • Laura Pritchard
    August 29, 2011

    Am following on GFC

  • Selin
    August 29, 2011

    I’m following on facebook.
    The book looks fantastic ! I’d really like to add it in my collection !

  • Lucy
    August 29, 2011


    I’m one of your facebook fans and an avid reader of your blog πŸ™‚ What a fab book.

  • Intrinsically Florrie
    August 29, 2011

    That book looks amazing *drools*

    I’m already following on Facebook and GFC πŸ™‚

    Florrie x

  • Patricia Lynn
    August 29, 2011

    I love tea party books! This one looks scrumptious.

  • Greg
    August 29, 2011


  • Anita Watson-Jackson
    August 29, 2011

    I’m holding a birthday tea party soon, I’ve got the vintage teacups & cava now all I need is the book!

  • helen watson
    August 29, 2011

    Wow thanks for the gorgeous giveaway! Ive been a follower for some time!

  • RetroFabuloso
    August 29, 2011

    That book looks amazing! And those Walnuts! Yum!
    I’m following on Facebook and RSS! Yippee!! Xx

  • Kelly Padwick
    August 29, 2011

    Great book, planning a vintage wedding, so might get some inspiration from it! Am a Facebook Liker x