This is a cheats guide to throwing a quick tea party worthy of a place in a vintage cookery book. I've always been obsessed with those weird staged photos of cakes, and it's what inspired my jelly tablecloth design. They used to eat a lot of jelly in the 1950's and 60's!
First of all, get a pretty tablecloth on and find your best plates to set the scene. I like to use all different plates rather than matching, as it looks a bit more interesting. Try and use things that are different heights so that they really stand out. If you don't have a cake stand, you can stand a plate on top of an upside down glass or bowl!
For food, I've gone for the easiest options possible. There isn't really any preparation at all! Open sandwiches made from bread cut into triangles, topped with butter and cucumber are a classic and they look pretty too. Then I've turned out a ready made jelly and surrounded it with halved strawberries and blueberries. I was pleasantly surprised to find that these Hartley's jellies are vegetarian too!
I've chopped the rest of the strawberries and arranged them in a bowl with a sliced nectarine and some blueberries for a tasty fruit salad. And pineapple rings arranged on a plate with maraschino cherries in the centre give it a real retro look. A few maraschino cherries go a long way to make your food look the part!
For cake, a plate full of french fancies straight out the box always look pretty, and you can decorate them with cake toppers and candles to make it look extra special. I've used my lemur party cake toppers here, as they make a big impression with minimal effort. But you could stick some pictures or pom poms to some cocktail sticks to make your own personalised decorations.
Every party needs party hats. So I quickly made this one out of one A4 sheet of coloured paper! This is a 3 minute project. Just roll it from one corner into a cone shape, and fix the ends with washi tape. Cut the bottom off to make it straight, then use a hole punch to make a hole in each side. Thread a piece of string or ribbon through the holes that can be tied under your chin. Then I decorated it with different coloured strips of washi tape wrapped around the cone. But you could paint it, draw on it, or stick gems and glitter to it. Maybe you could even get your guests to decorate their own.