A Message from Ruth at Antiques And Teacups

Welcome to the blog of Antiques And Teacups! Let's share a cup of tea and talk about the things we love...like teacups, antiques, collectibles, visiting England, antiquing and learning about victoriana and quirky gadgets. Fun!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Can't Believe it! Invited To The Wedding...And Can't Go!!! NOT AN APRIL FOOL EITHER!

Several folks have emailed thinking this is an April fool's joke...it isn't!

A couple of days ago I did a "heads up" post asking if anyone was going to the Royal Wedding in London of Prince William and Kate. I had a reason. Didn't get a response, so here is the reason and the solution to my question.

On my other blog, Time Was Antiques family blog I have been blogging, usually every Wednesday in conjunction with Decor To Adore's Royal Wedding Wednesday blog party, about the wedding gifts received by Prince Charles and Princess Diana for their wedding in 1981. The info came from a booklet I bought at the exhibition of gifts at St. James Palace in London the September after the wedding. WELL...I was contacted by someone from ITV UK in conjunction with TLC channel for help with some Royal Wedding programming they are doing.

The upshot was, they wanted me as an American Anglophile to participate in some "special opportunities" as well as some shows the day before & day after the wedding if I was coming. BUT I'M NOT GOING TO THE WEDDING!!!!  WAAAAAAA! Included was a trip to Kate Middleton's village and other places connected to the couple. I can only guess what else...I hope they'll keep me posted. 

Since I would not be there, he asked if I knew anyone who would...hence the heads up post. No response. Then I remembered a friend, Denise,  from the Afternoon Tea Across America Yahoo group that I belong to. Denise is an American who moved to the UK last August. So I asked her permission to send her details to ITV, she agreed (duh!) and my ITV contact was thrilled and she would be contacted immediately.  So have a ball Denise, and keep us posted. She had a friend who was coming over for the wedding but had to cancel so Denise pretty well thought she would have to give up going to the wedding. But....maybe she'll be there now! You go,  girl!!!

So...that's my excitement for the last 3 days as all this was flying back & forth from London in the early hours each morning (early for me...hey...I'm west coast!). So hopefully Denise will share some things with me I can pass on either here or on my Time Was Antiques blog, where this all began!

Here's a Prince Charles and Princess Diana wedding plate by Wedgwood I just added to Antiques And Teacups. I really like the colors and boldness of the design. To see more of the 1981 Royal Wedding plate click on the photos.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Teacup Thursday with Miss Spenser - Harrods Teacup

I guess I've got England on the brain with William and Kate's Royal Wedding coming up, so when looking for a teacup to share with Teacup Thursday with Miss Spenser's Blog I thought this would be a fun one. 

The teacup is a signature Harrods, Knightsbridge...the famous London department store... teacup with a great maroon color and the signature in the cup made in the 1970s for Harrods by Laganthahal, Switzerland. My first thought when I found it was...sheesh...couldn't you find an English manufacturer? But...the teacup is quite fun. For more info on the teacup at Antiques And Teacups, click on the photos

From the Frommer's slide show link I posted yesterday of free things to do in London.

Harrods is famous also because the former owned was the father of Dodi Fayed who died with Princess Diana in the French car crash in 1997. There was a shrine just off the food floor downstairs which I personally thought was a bit creepy. It was like a religious shrine and a bit too much for me. Especially so close to the incredible food hall where gustatory extravagance and over consumption is pretty hard to resist.

Have a great day visiting teacups! I intend to!

- Best of Royal London for Free Slideshow at Frommer's

- Best of Royal London for Free Slideshow at Frommer's

A great slide presentation of super free things to do in London. I've done them all and they are great!!!!
So...when you are there for the Royal wedding....

Heads up! Anyone going to the Royal Wedding in the UK next month???

This is going to sound a bit mysterious...but any American anglophile & family going to the UK for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate next month? If so...please communicate with me. I have a special opportunity available. Can't tell you anything else at the moment.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our Visit To Kensington Palace, Diana Exhibit, Orangery Afternoon Tea, Our Will & Kate Mug on BBC America

In 1998 when we were in the UK for an annual buying trip, we visited Kensington Palace, home of Princess Diana from 1981 until her tragic death in 1997. Kensington Palace is a lovely palace in fabulous gardens including huge horse chestnut trees. At various times we have sheltered from rain under them or watched schoolboys picking up the mature chestnuts...or conkers as they are called....from the ground where they have fallen in the fall. My husband showed me the fine points of conker battles in the park following afternoon tea at The Orangery in the back of the palace.

The Diana exhibit was a highlight of the trip with photos by Mario Testino. I would love to add a photo here, but they are copyrighted.

Below are photos we took then as well as several from previous teas at The Orangery.

Entrance to the Royal apartments and Diana Exhibit at the side of the Palace to the right as you enter the gold gates.

Moving to the Orangery for afternoon tea.

Champagne afternoon tea

The Debutante tea which is not always on the menu


SIGNATURE  ORANGE  TEA                             
£14.85 per person                                 
An assortment of finger sandwiches,
signature orange scented scone with Cornish
clotted cream & strawberry jam. Finished
with a delectable ├ęclair and orange and
passion fruit tart. 
Served with a choice of teas or coffee.
Recommended tea - Rooibos breakfast
(Orange tea)

ENCHANTED PALACE TEA                                           
£17.95 per person

Enchanted palace chocolate ganache slice and heart
shaped raspberry shortbread, signature orange
scented scone with Cornish clotted cream & strawberry
jam and an assortment of finger sandwiches.
Served with a choice of teas or coffee.
Recommended tea – Chocolate tea

ROYAL CHAMPAGNE TEA                         
£20.45 per person  
A flute of Champagne, served with an
assortment of finger sandwiches, signature
orange scented scone with Cornish clotted
cream & strawberry jam. Finished with a
delectable ├ęclair and orange and passion fruit
tart. Served with a choice of teas or coffee.

£33.75 per person

A flute of Champagne, a selection of afternoon tea
sandwiches, freshly baked mini scones served with
Cornish clotted cream and organic preserves, a variety
of dainty afternoon tea pastries.
Served with a pot of Tregothnan tea

The reason the Tregothnan Tea is pricey and important, is that the Tregothnan tea plantation in Cornwall is the only tea producing estate in England. We visited Tregothnan on a visit to Cornwall and bought tea there. So I came home from the Orangery with some more packets of tea, as they had them for sale there. It is a delicious black tea with hints of Darjeeling. I loved it.

Lastly on our Kensington tour, the gardens at Kensington Palace. This is my favorite, the Sunken Garden with reflecting koi pool. It was so tranquil and private. We sat on benches (on the days we visited when it wasn't raining) and enjoyed the quite so colose to Kensington High Street where we have stayed several times. Kensington Palace is one of the reasons we like to stay in this area of town.

To change generations, BBC America just had a program on tonight called The Modern Monarchy: Dos and Don'ts which included a segment of William and Kate Royal Wedding collectibles...and guess what mug they featured??!! The one we have in stock at Antiques And Teacups. How cool is that??? To purchase or for more info, just click on the photos of the Prince William and Kate mug below.

I also want to thank those who have been joining me in prayer for my daughter in law Casey. They began the procedure today, but having sent a camera up her artery to confirm the size of the hole in her heart before the actual patching surgery, they found it was a bit different than expected and is located where the artery goes to her lung. So they stopped the procedure and have sent her to another cardiac specialist/surgeon who specializes in this rarer type of surgery which will be done next week. Sigh....
But Psalms 31:14-15 says"But as for me I trust in You Oh Lord....Our times are in Your hands", and Romans 8:28 "All things work together for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."

Tea Pot and Tea Things Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday

For Teacup Tuesday, Tea Time Tuesday, Teatime For Two, Tea Pot and Tea Things Tuesday and other tea related blog parties today I wanted to share this Wedgwood, England teacup called Strawberry Hill because we had our first strawberry shortcake of the year last night! Totally delish! I always love this time of year with the fresh strawberries available. YUMMM!!!

This Wedgwood teacup at Antiques and Teacups was made in between 1957-1978 and has always been a favorite pattern of mind. It is such an elegant shape and lovely pattern. Speaks spring to me...and those great strawberries! To see more about the teacup, click on the photos.

A month from today's date is the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate. It was fun posting the cake recipe & prep videos yesterday. Today I have something different, so get out your knitting needles. A tea friend, Denise of Tea In London on Afternoon Tea Across America who now lives in England sent me a link to a booklet she found and then located on Amazon called Knit Your Own Royal Wedding!

The blurb says:

The most unique tribute to the wedding of Prince William and Kate 
Middleton--instructions for a handknit wedding scene complete with 
adorable dolls and a foldout illustration of Westminster Abbey so you 
can display your creations.

Knit Your Own Royal Wedding 
features projects for Prince William, Kate Middleton, the Queen, Prince 
Harry, other members of the royal family, and even a cute little corgi. 
The background scene, which fits into a pocket in the back cover, is an 
illustrated foldout of Westminster Abbey. Also included are instructions
for a few wedding accessories.
Each project comes complete with 
knitting instructions and full-color photos of the finished doll, all on
cleverly illustrated pages. For knitters and nonknitters alike, this 
will be a beautiful and fun souvenir of what is sure to be the wedding 
of the century!

How fun is that!  So...get knitting!!!!
Knit Your Own Royal Wedding at Amazon

Won't be getting to my tea friends till later today...filling in for the church secretary today & Thursday while she is with our youth group on a trip to work at a n orphanage in Mexico which they do every spring break. Have a great day.

And please remember to pray for my dear daughter in law Casey who is having heart surgery today at noon. The fervent prayer of a believer does much. Thank you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Prince William's Family Recipe For Chocolate Biscuit Cake For the Wedding and Cake Plates

When I posted on  Afternoon Tea Across America Yahoo group that Prince William had requested the family favorite Chocolate Biscuit Cake for his wedding with Kate,  a friend from the group, Phyllis, said that she had the recipe purported to be Queen Elizabeth II's favorite cake in a book called Eating Royally by Darren McGrady who was personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana...and therefore Prince William and Prince Harry.

Apparently the only cake regularly appearing at the tea table for Her Majesty to enjoy with her Earl Grey.

Here is the recipe from his blog/website The Royal Chef:

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Makes 1 cake – 10 portions
Her Majesty the Queens favourite afternoon tea cake by far. This cake is probably the only one that is sent into the Royal dining room again and again until it has all gone.
4 ounces dark chocolate.(for the cake)
4 ounces granulated sugar.
4 ounces unsalted butter. (softened)
1 egg.
8 ounces Rich tea biscuits.
½ teaspoon butter for greasing.
8 ounces dark chocolate (for coating)
1 ounce chocolate (for decoration)
1. Lightly grease a 6 inch by 2 ½ inch cake ring and place on a tray on a sheet of parchment paper.
2. Break each of the biscuits into almond size pieces by hand and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until the mixture starts to lighten.
4. Melt the 4 ounces of chocolate and add to the butter mixture whilst constantly stirring.
5. Beat in the egg to the mixture.
6. Fold in the biscuit pieces until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture.
7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake ring. Try to fill all of the gaps on the bottom of the ring because this will be the top when it is un-molded.
8. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
9. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it stand while you melt the 8 ounces of chocolate.
10. Slide the ring off the cake and turn it upside down onto a cake wire.
11. Pour the melted chocolate over the cake and smooth the top and sides using a palette knife.
12. Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature.
13. Carefully run a knife around the bottom of the cake where the chocolate has stuck it to the cake wire and lift it onto a tea plate.
14. Melt the remaining 1 ounce of chocolate and use to decorate the top of the cake.
And to carry it to the tea table, here are 3 cake serving plates we have at Antiques And Teacups. For more info on them, click the photos.
From Aynsley, England a pretty floral from 1920-1930s

From B, England from the same era

By Myott, England from the 1930s in Bermuda Chintz

So...you can have the same wedding reception cake as the Royal Family will be enjoying at Buckingham Palace after Prince William and Kate's wedding next month as you watch at home...maybe not at 4am, but...
Have a great day and join us tomorrow for Teacup Tuesday and all the wonderful tea parties.

Just found this video of the cake making at the Royal Channel on Youtube:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Royal Mews, the Royal Wedding video and Charles & Diana's Coach for William and Kate

Great video from the Royal Channel on YouTube from one of my favorite places in London to visit...The Royal Mews where Queen Elizabeth II keeps her horses and carriages just behind Buckingham Palace on Buckingham Palace Road. We love to stay in this area of London within walking distance of the front gates of Buck House, the Mews, Pall Mall, the Queen's Guard's Museum in St. Jame's Park and other great spots.

Photos of the Gold State coach from a visit when we were last in London which is over-the-top drop dead gorgeous:

The horses pulling the carriage are the Queen's Windsor Greys which aren't actually a special breed but are bred for color for the Queen's carriages. The mews is a fascinating place. You tour the enclosed courtyard, visit the stabling to see the horses if they are in town...we have only missed them when our visit was in August...view the tack room which is quite fun since we deal in a lot of horse brasses,

and then you get to tour all the coaches housed there from the Gold State Coach seen above to the Australian coach, the Glass Coach, the Rolls, and more. 

This is the 1902 State Landau that served for Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding and will also be used for Prince William and Kate's wedding next month and is seen above being readied for the wedding next month.

The Mail Online posted this story today about their choice of carriage:
Diana's Coach For Kate's Big Day

Lot's of fun news if you are interested in the wedding. We at Antiques And Teacups And Time Was Antiques certainly are as we stock loads of English antiques and collectibles.

Royal Wedding Cake for William and Kate info revealed

The designer for the Royal Wedding cake planned for Prince William and Kate's wedding has been announced, on the Prince of Wales website and on the BBC. Here are links to the posts:

Royal wedding: William and Kate to have two cakes

Royal Wedding Website:

with video & a Priceline ad.... :(

A friend has a recipe of the chocolate biscuit cake William has requested, so hope to be able to post it soon.

Have a great day. Am off to church and lunch and to enjoy the semi sunshine at the moment.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Port Townsend Victorian Heritage Tea, Haviland Limoges Teacup

This is actually not my Pink Saturday post...it's the next post down. I just had a chance to do this, but it's not my Pink Saturday Post!

Last weekend we attended events at Port Townsend, Washington during their Port Townsend Heritage Days. The town, about 30 miles from us on a peninsula with harbor on the Strait of Juan De Fuca and the Hood Canal and Puget Sound that calls itself the Victorian Seaport Village. The town has more than it's share of Victorian buildings, many that are B&Bs.

We attended a Victorian Afternoon Tea, as it was billed at one of the B&Bs. You were assigned to one of several that participated in the tea event when you purchased your ticket. We were assigned to The Old Consulate Inn and had 12 at the dining room table and had a 4 course meal with tea.

Some of the ladies came in costume from different eras. We had sisters in 1850s bustle outfits, a woman in an 1890s outfit and 2 ladies in 1910 dress. I had a long dress with a lace collar/jabot and antique painted brooch...not exactly period, but...

So here are some of the photos from the tea.

The menu did not scan really big enough to read, so the jist is

Baked Apple with Brandied Raisins and Pecans
Seafood Salad in Puff Pastry
Cream Cheese & Olive on White Bread
Cucumber, Sprouts & Dill Spread On Wheat

Plain Sugar Crusted Scones with
Homemade Strawberry Jam & Double Cream 

Toffee Crackers
Lemon Glazed Cupcakes
Shortbread Cookies with White Chocolate

Heritage Red Tea

We had a wonderful time and left stuffed!!!!  My DH didn't mind that he was the only male with 11 ladies...and he is certainly capable of holding his own. And as soon as he opens his mouth and the British accent is evident...well!

The place settings were a lovely antique floral pattern from Haviland, Limoges France. I don't have the exact pattern at Antiques And Teacups, but do have a Haviland, Limoges with the same shape as the set we used at the tea:

Haviland made so many lovely designs. I have difficulty keeping them in stock! To see more of this Haviland antique teacup, click on the photo.

Have a wonderful day! Visit the Pink Saturday folks, have a cup of tea with a friend and enjoy spring. We are sunny but windy here in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula, but the trees are budding so everyone is smiling!

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.  ~Bernard-Paul Heroux


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