Whatever the occasion from birthdays to Mother’s Day, a vintage afternoon tea party is a delightful way to celebrate

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Image: 7 tips for a vintage afternoon tea party

Ooh ... now what to eat first?

Give afternoon tea a vintage twist with traditional bakes and retro touches. Old-school crockery, classic cakes and big fat scones will have everyone hungry for a slice of nostalgia.


1. Drinks on arrival

Celebrate all things tea with a wide range to choose from including Taste the Difference Earl Grey, Taste the Difference English Breakfast or Fairtrade Green Tea by Sainsbury's. Provide a few herbal options too for those avoiding caffeine.


Last but not least – don’t forget the bubbles! Check ahead that you have enough bottles and keep them on ice for a luxury touch, or shake up a cocktail instead such as this lime, lemon & ginger refresher.

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2. Crazy for cupcakes

Topped with buttercream icing and oh-so-pretty, the cupcake craze is still going strong. Have your piping skills at the ready (watch this how to ice a cupcake video) and try making these pink butterfly fairy cakes or classic cupcakes with buttercream swirls.

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3. Retro food revival

For an afternoon tea that’s big on nostalgia, serve traditional classics such as Victoria sponge cake, finger sandwiches and homemade scones. Layer cake stands with old-school favourites: slices of jammy bakewell tart, petticoat tails, or mini fondant fancies.


Shop-bought cakes, biscuits and patisserie such as this delicious Columbian coffee and walnut cake are lifesavers if you run out of time. There's no shame in it – the French do it themselves and call it 'outsourcing'!

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4. Dress your room

Give your room a vintage makeover with retro crockery from charity shops and a pretty lace tablecloth – you could even hang some bunting on the walls! Pop your cakes and sarnies on a cake stand or inside a retro glass cake dome, then finish the table off by making cute rectangular biscuits iced with each guest’s name as place-cards.

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Afternoon tea


5. Spectacular sandwiches

You can’t get more classic than cucumber sandwiches, but it’s worth thinking outside the lunchbox with more luxurious options – we're thinking prawn cocktail sarnies or scottish smoked salmon on rye. Follow the trend of posh hotels and try baking your own flavoured bread with this parmesan and sundried tomato bread mix.

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Finger sandwiches

Posh finger sandwiches: smoked salmon, cream cheese & dill/ cucumber with chive & mint butter 


6. Cakes to die for

Don’t just let them eat cake – let them eat excellent cake. This afternoon tea layer cake is seriously impressive with its Neapolitan-style chocolate, raspberry and vanilla sponge. Sainsbury’s Belgian chocolate fudge cake layered with Belgian chocolate buttercream makes a heavenly shop-bought option too.

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7. Scone-tastic

It’s practically the law to serve scones with afternoon tea and if you’re making your own they taste best made on the day. Try these easy scones that take less than 30 minutes start to finish, then get stuck into that age-old debate of what’s slathered on first: cream or jam?

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Feel like you were born in the wrong decade with your love of all things vintage? Take the test with these 8 signs you're a vintage-lover!