For the celebration of our own dear “queen mother’s” birthday, she invited her daughters to England for the ultimate tea party. 4 days bashing around London together climaxed with a mid-morning tea time at the quaint corner tea room – Betty Blythe! With brick walls and glittering chandeliers, this venue embodies both grit and grace, just like the women of the generation for which inspire the theme of the restaurant – the roaring 20’s!
The upstairs seats patrons who frequent the corner cafe on their coffee break or to carry out scones or pastries. Down a winding staircase is the private tea room where we happily spent hours playing dress up and sampling sweet and savory sensations!
Tara, the owner, has converted the space into every little girls dream….(or every big girl for that matter!) An entire room devoted to dress-ups and tea! We tried on swing dresses and rummaged through dresser drawers to accessorized with gloves and fascinators and hats and pearls.
Once adorned, our tea was served. Tiny tea sandwiches and house-made scones served up British style – with clotted cream and jam. Tiered tea-trays were plated up beautifully with delicate pastries and sweets which were passed around complimenting our English breakfast tea and Earl grey.
We had scoured books and blogs, web recommendations and word of mouth to find the best tea rooms in London and Betty Blythe stands out as one of Londons best-kept-secrets. This darling niche specializes to “hen parties”, baby showers and birthdays. With seating only for about 20, its never overcrowded and is strikingly reasonably priced.The perfect spot to take in local flavor, tasty treats and make charming, unforgettable memories!
The large yellow house with the wide white porch has candles lit in the windows and wreaths hung with red bows. Beckoning you inside is a pathway illuminated with glowing lanterns and the smell of cider in the crock pot greets you before you step over the threshold. Vintage Christmas books from my childhood are close at hand by couches where cozy throws invite you to snuggle up under the sprawling 15 foot Christmas tree adorned with huge silver balls and white twinkle lights.
Here the hearth fire is always burning and the coffee pot is never empty and the Christmas playlist in the background enhances the ambiance. Mother has been at work for weeks prepping all our favorite holiday dishes and stashing away sweets in tins on the sideboard.
The door constantly revolves with suitcases and baby cribs and wrapped gifts being lugged in by uncles and aunts. The squeals of cousins reuniting and thundering footsteps amplify the constant noise as little ones pair off in twos and threes and scamper off to the trampoline or the game room.
Board games are pulled out. Cookie trays are passed around. Laughter ensues.
The Santa mugs, the sentinel nutcrackers, the greens gathered in every vase; the duchess of decor has left no corner bare or undressed. Tables are set with Spode Christmas china and linens and festive centerpieces.
Snack baskets and “pillow presents” grace beds where each person will lay their head tonight.
This….this is what home-for-chrismtas looks like!!
We’ve spent more Christmases out of the country than at “home”, and we’ve made our own memories and created new traditions as our family grows and our life has led us down distant roads. But, the nostalgia and sentiment of the season always leaves me a bit “homesick” at this time of year and this Christmas was beautifully memorable and fun to take our Eden home for the holidays for the first time!!
Grateful. Just so grateful for family. For siblings who are my favorite people. For the beauty of 4 generations gathered. For cousin-best-friends for my children. But most of all for the reason we celebrate!!
Grateful for Emmanuel
…God with us.
A long and time honored tradition culminated last week. We celebrated the fifth and final little-girls-6th-birthday-housewarming-party of our family! Turning 6 is a big deal around here. 30 years ago, my grandfather (who is now 97 and watching this tradition carried on to the next generation) started something special that left an indelible memory. A beautiful Victorian Dollhouse was toiled over, constructed, adorned, painted and presented to me on my 6th birthday. My mother jokes that the box they purchased with instructions suggested 40 hours for assembly. Grandpa put in 80!! Using Grandma’s earring studs to create tiny door knobs and and laboring in his tool shed to perfect and improve the design, his masterpiece exceeded the manufacturers labeled photograph and the structure has withstood now three-decades of play. Each of my sisters received the same gift on their 6th birthday developing a little “neighborhood” in the playroom of my childhood home.
C took on the baton and purposed to create the same special memory for each of our girls on their 6th birthday. Abi, Britain, Izzy Evie and now Gigi each have dollhouses that hopefully they’ll get to pass on to their daughters some day! We could have a whole little “village” if all the big sister dollhouses weren’t packed up in a POD back in the USA!! 🙁
I told her she can stop growing now! 6 years old is old enough! Have loved every minute of your little-girlhood my Gigi! Your spunk and sass and sweetness. I love that chocolate still works to bribe you to take a nap with me and that you still love to sneak down in the middle of the night sometimes to snuggle. I love your obsession with hairbows and high-heels and lime drinks and bubble tea. Our coffee mornings when all the big kids are at school and the way your hand fits just right in mine when we walk to pick them up! Your crazy mess of curls and the Fancy Nancy quote you say to me every day that keeps me wrapped around your little finger…..”I adore you….really, I do!”
I adore you too my girl. Happy 6th birthday to our little hot mess!
This sweet little dollhouse cake brought to us by Cupcakelicious U! Yum, yum, yum!! What a masterpiece of its own. Delicious lemon cake and cream cheese frosting under all that fondant amazingness! And the best part – they deliver! Bangkok friends – check them out for your next event!!