Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I recently heard that Downton Abbey has as much of a following in the USA as in England.  It must be true, as many of my friends, as well as merchants are certainly enthralled with the fashions, customs, foods, and of course, personalities of the characters.

For the second year, I hosted a Downton inspired tea in my home.  Ten guests enjoyed an afternoon of conversation, fun and food, connecting with old friends and making new.  To set the mood, we watched a portion of Masterpiece Theatre's "Manners of Downton Abbey" though I informed my guests that I had not intended to follow the strict guidelines set forth in the Edwardian times. I was intrigued by the measurements for placing the plates, silverware, and chairs at the table, and the many pieces of cutlery and number of glasses at each place setting.

We continued our conversation with Downton Abbey fan suggestions.  We played a short game which revealed which character our own personality was most like.  Click on this link to find information about the game, Pinterest.  And search Pinterest for Downton event ideas.

My menu came in part from the January/February 2014 issue of Tea Time Magazine, and my own pins to my Pinterest boards. I chose the sandwiches and currant scones from this issue of Tea Time.  The red velvet scones are from the January/February 2015 issue.  The dessert includes: homemade mincemeat found here, used in place of dates with a date bar recipe; cordial cups filled with raspberry jam and sweetened cream cheese; and white cake with cranberry soda and jello, found here.

Downton Inspired Menu

Cucumber Sandwiches
Egg Salad Sandwiches

Currant Scones
Red Velvet Scones
Mock Devonshire Cream

Mince Meat Bars
Raspberry Chocolate Cups

My dear friend Nancy of Two Cottages and Tea graciously helped with the sandwiches.

Another guest, Cindy, has a sharp eye for vintage fashion, especially hats.  She upcycles and remakes the hats worn by our mothers and grandmothers into works of art.  Her flair for embellishing and remaking old hats, and her gentle voice invites even those of us who are afraid of "hat hair" to wear a hat, and enjoy it!  

Since I've met Cindy, wearing hats to my teas has become another aspect of the tea, besides the atmosphere of gentle conversation, delectable food, and finding rest for the soul.  Here are the fashions and hats worn by my Downton fan guests.

(From L to R) Nancy, in a navy felt hat with feather; Emily, wearing a pure sheep's wool hat; and
Wendy, who chose a black cloche'.

Connie is wearing a black cloche' that coordinates with her burgandy jacket

 Lee's hat is one of Cindy's designs which goes nicely with her lace and burgandy jacket

Nancy shows her hair with hat

Cindy's hat is embellished beautifully

Cathy's hat is part of her"Red Hats" wardrobe

On a very cold but sunny wintery day, we shared our love for Downton Abbey and the English heritage many of us have.  We talked of fashions of the 1920's, good reads, grandchildren, love for fine dishes and delicate linens, and the need for an afternoon of leaving the world behind to enjoy tea friendship together.   We drank many cups of Rooibos Chai and Sugar Plum tea by the Tea Can Company, and promised not to call each other at 9:00 p.m. (EST).

Their parting gifts were hand decorated sugar cookies, and quips and quotes by our favorite Downton stars.

I take that as a compliment.” Isobel
I must have said it wrong.” Violet
The Dowager Countess and Isobel have grown from adversaries trying to best one another to confidants who understand one another. While they'll probably always trade quips and delight in their disagreements, so too will they likely be there for each other, nursing through illness, bolstering through grief, and laughing, sharing companionship and confidences.

Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”
A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as
an excess of tears.”
What is a weekend?”
Countess Dowager Violet

I should hate to be predictable.”
Lady Mary

The position of Cook is of great importance as she heads up the Kitchen Department, not only for the pleasure and sustenance the food may bring the family and guests, but also their good health.

All the dynamics of a true mother and daughter relationship are present in Mrs. Patmore and Daisy: love, rebellion, pride, nurturing, sacrifice, hurt, and more love. Daisy has blossomed under Mrs. Patmore's care. And like a true daughter, it may take her many more years to appreciate it!

Mending skills, tidiness, and ability to pack clothes correctly and speedily are essential. Being of good temper and reliability are good qualities. A Lady's Maid shall be expected to dress in a smart and modest manner at all times.

Oh heavens, girl. You're building a fire, not inventing it.” Mrs. Hughes

If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.”
What would be the use of living, if we didn't let life change us.” Mr. Carson

Thanks for stopping by. Until we meet again....may God continue to bless you on your journey.  SB


  1. A beautiful tea, Sue! I enjoyed every minute of it! Thank you so much for inviting me!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Looks like you had a lovely tea! Such a great idea.

  4. We certainly enjoyed the afternoon. Any time is time for tea. Do you watch Downton?

  5. We certainly enjoyed the afternoon. Any time is time for tea. Do you watch Downton?