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Off to Tottenham for Tea

Did you know that internationally renowned singer-songwriter Adele was born in Tottenham? Or that South Tottenham is reported to be the most ethnically-diverse area in Europe, with 300 languages being spoken by its residents? These are two of the facts that featured in our Tottenham Quiz that was one of the bespoke games guests played at our ‘Tottenham Tea Party’.

On Saturday 30th November we took over a former Caribbean food takeaway on Broad Lane, Tottenham.  As part of the Living Archive project by arts organisation Make-Room, we were asked to host a special Tottenham inspired tea party in their temporary pop-up space.

Make-Room: The Living Archive

Adorning the space in bunting and floral brightness, we met some really interesting folk who shared their stories, experiences and memories of Tottenham whilst playing our games and supping on tea and eating Tottenham cake. Here are some snaps from the day:

Photo credits: Jenni Grove

Tea & Community Dialogues at Kew Gardens

Earlier this year we worked on a really interesting community engagement project at Kew Gardens using our tea parties as way to engage new audiences at Kew.  The project ‘Community Dialogues’ aimed to engage and bring together groups of different, diverse cultural backgrounds to creatively explore and exchange dialogues on edible plants at Kew. The origins of a series of edible plants were explored, how they are used in cooking and in particular specific stories shared and captured all of course over a good cuppa tea!

We worked with five community organisations in a series of workshops in the format of a ‘pop up tea salon’ to explore edible plants in both the Temperate House and Palm House. The structure of the project enabled us to meet the group first, running an initial workshop on ‘Edible plants’ and getting participants to think about how they use edible plants in their day to day lives. The next time we met the groups was for a tour of both the Temperate and Palm houses, exploring edible plants that lived at Kew and then onto tea at our bespoke tea parties themed to a series of edible plants including tea, chilli peppers, sugar cane, date palm to name a few.

The project was a lovely opportunity to meet and work with some really interesting groups, enabling them to explore their own relationships to a number of diverse edible plants. We learnt about exotic recipes, heard childhood memories and stories of growing up eating these edible plants, and we saw how relationships had grown with these edible plants, for example Harjit Kaur from the Hounslow Senior Trust reminisced about early childhood memories of drinking chai (tea) over breakfast with her family, how it began her day and how this has continued as a custom for her throughout her life. She also shared her recipe for Masala Chai.

The groups involved came from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and from all walks of life. Participants from the Brazilian Educational & Cultural Centre talked of edible plants native to Brazil and other countries in South America, it was fascinating to hear about these plants and how they were eaten, and one only wished we could have had a taste! The ladies from the Al Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre  and the Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre added a new dimension to the tea party that we hosted for them. The tea party, originally a traditional English, became something new after the ladies all from Arabic descent brought along their own traditional food using some of the edible plants we were exploring. It was a lovely addition and very, very yummy! We really enjoyed this cultural mixing of food and language. Lively discussions and lots of story sharing took place at the tea parties, they were a real opportunity to hear an assortment of experiences to the edible plants that we explored during the project.  The project culminated in a short film:

We also created shorter edits of the film for each of the edible plants we explored during the project. You can watch them here.

Sadia’s Vintage Tea Party

My love affair with all things vintage, antique and shabby chic has been the inspiration for our vintage styled tea party. An addition to our current line-up of tea parties, I have relished collecting and sourcing paraphernalia over time to make this a truly authentic experience.  Our glamorous tea ladies will even serve your guests in vintage attire. We’ll organise and design traditional bespoke parlour games to accompany tea and provide some merriment. All you need to do is offer the venue, and Sadia’s Tea Party will transform it to another moment in time.

With a touch of decadence and nostalgia, let Sadia’s Tea Party create for you and your guests a fabulous vintage tea party. Transport your guests back to a golden era, immerse yourselves in a delightfully aesthetic and mouth-watering experience befitting any occasion.  We provide an atmosphere of pure glamour and decadence…Take tea in exquisite fine bone china, dine on traditional tea party fayre and be wowed by our classic and sumptuous cakes and cupcakes.

For further information why not drop us a line.

Here are some photos from a vintage-styled tea party at Beltcraft Studios in London.

Photo credits: Connie Taylor Photography

Make Up Artist: Flawless by Faz

Hats by: GG’s Pin-Up Couture



‘International’ tea party to launch new programme in Barking & Dagenham

On Monday 21st October, we hosted an ‘international’ tea party at the Broadway Theatre, stirring up teas and snacks from England, South Asia and the Caribbean to launch the eagerly awaited ‘Creative People & Places’ programme in Barking & Dagenham. We were commissioned to reflect the communities that resided in the London borough; so we had lots of fun coming up with our very bespoke menu, a wonderful concoction that included; an English classic, the Victoria sponge cake, treats from sunnier Caribbean climes; the Jamaican ginger cake and plaintain chips, and a mix of savoury and sweet treats from the Indian subcontinent; a glorious selection of Indian mithai and the classic Bombay mix.

Over the course of the evening over 115 people attended the launch tea party, our biggest to date so far! Folk seemed to have a good time, enjoying tea and authentic treats and finding out more about the new programme. Here is a selection of snaps from the day:

(c) Photo credits: Fiona Whitty

After the event, we had some wonderful feedback from the organisation:

“Sadia devised and produced a really successful international tea party for us to launch our Creative Barking & Dagenham 3 year arts engagement programme. She was a dream to work with: creative, well organised, flexible, with brilliant attention to detail. She dressed the space beautfully and gave us exactly the event we hoped for – great tea, great cakes and great vibes!”

Miriam Nelken, Programme Director, Barking and Dagenham’s Creative People and Places Programme

If you’d like to find out more about how we could plan a bespoke, custom designed event for you then please get in touch.

Around the World in Tea: Morocco

I was lucky enough to spend a week in Fes, Morocco in September. During my week of Moroccan adventures, there was of course much tea drinking to my delight. The Moroccan’s are heavy tea drinkers, in fact the locals jokingly told me they call it ‘Moroccan whiskey’! Sadia's Tea Party in Fes

One of the international tea parties that we offer is the ‘North African Tea Party’ and this tea party serves traditional ‘Maghrebi’ mint tea as drunk in the ‘Maghreb’, this defines the region of Northwest Africa made up of the following countries; Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Mauritania. The ‘Maghrebi’ tea culture has spread throughout North Africa including Egypt and Sudan and southern Spain. Tea we found occupies a very important place in Moroccan culture and is considered an art form.

Drinking Maghrebi – style mint tea in the hot climates was lush, a thirst quencher and very refreshing. It is green tea (gunpowder tea) served with mint leaves and copious amounts of sugar! Served not only a meal times but throughout the day, it is a drink of hospitality, impolite to refuse.

Interestingly enough, tea is not native to Morocco. It came over after the Crimean War; British merchants were in search of new markets in which to sell their tea. The Moroccans took greatly to this new drink, adapting and making it their own. The medicinal qualities of mint were enjoyed by folk in this region and grown in abundance; fittingly they added sprigs of fresh mint to the tea to create what we now know as ‘Maghrebi’ mint tea.  Today the main provider of tea to the Maghreb is China.

Whilst out in Morocco, my favourite cup of tea was in Bhalil, with a little lady called Mama Aisha and our tour guide for the day, Hassan. Walking through Bhalil involved quite a climb up roughly paved streets. Bhalil is famous for its cave houses, apparently 40 of these are still inhabited, and a few are routinely open to tourists. In one of them we had Maghrebi style mint tea with Mama Aisha, a strong, sprightly lady in her eighties, whose family had resided in this home for the past 3 centuries.

Making Tea the Maghrebi Way

The customary green tea used is a gunpowder tea imported from China, I brought some back from Fes however it is widely available in England. Here is how you can make a pot of tea the Maghrebi way.

  1. In a teapot, combine two teaspoons of tea-leaf with half a litre of boiling water. Allow it too steep for at least ten minutes.
  2. Filter the mixture into a different stainless steel pot, so that the tea leaves and coarse powder are removed.
  3. Add sugar (about one teaspoon per 100 ml).
  4. Bring to boil over a medium heat.
  5. As desired, add fresh mint leaves either to the teapot or directly to the cup.

There you have it folks, enjoy! And please do come back next month when we feature another tea from a different part of the world.

‘Around the World in Tea’ Blog

This month we launch our monthly blog post ‘Around the World in Tea’, on the 5th of each month we’ll be talking about a tea from a different region of the world. Sharing our love for tea customs and cultures, we’ll explore the tea, its origins and history, share some stories and recipes and open the floor to you, our readers…Do you have any experience of the tea were sharing? Any stories, memories, anecdotes? Any recipes?  We look forward to launching the monthly blog posts this week and look forward to hearing from you! Have tea-riffic days all…

Around the World in Teas

Afternoon Tea at Fairlop

On Saturday 6th July 2013, hundreds of people basked in the glorious sunshine as they enjoyed an array of amusing and wacky entertainment at the Fairlop Fair. The annual free event at Fairlop Waters in Barkingside, included circus entertainment, a host of stalls, Georgian-era games and of course tea parties. The Fairlop Fair was originally held annually in the 18th century, attracting hundreds of thousands of people in its heyday and only just returning in 2011 after a 100-year gap.

The day begun with setting up our special tea tent for the tea parties with traditional colorful bunting being hung and setting up the tables with lovely patterned tablecloths and beautiful vintage tea crockery. Guests were seated and presented with an array of fancy snacks including a delicious traditional Victoria sponge cake served alongside a special tea blend, an Assam-Darjeeling fusion – subtle but satiating.

There were many Fairlop-themed parlour games and activities throughout the duration of the tea parties. The party started out with the now infamous icebreaker coin game which allowed everyone to get more acquainted with one another; followed on by the Fairlop question round with everyone answering questions upon their personal experiences with Fairlop. A game that gave everyone giggles was the Story Making game in which all of the guests had to write a sentence each and at the end a story was created although some turned out to be more wacky than fairytale. Another enjoyable activity was the Fairlop Quiz that had certainly given guests more of an insight into the rich history of Fairlop.

A special feature of the tea parties was the Fairlop Memories – a way for everyone involved including those visiting the fair to write down any particular memory they have of Fairlop, which then would be added to the growing art installation ‘Fairlop Memories’ board. Fairlop Waters was an idyllic location for the tea parties, it was wonderfully calm, but bubbling with ambiance. The guests seemed to really enjoy the parlour style games as it really allowed for everyone to interact with new people. Overall the day was full of fun and joy for all.

Henna Babar

Here are a selection of photos from the day:

© Photo credits: Connie Taylor Photography

Community Dialogues: Tea Stories with Al Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre

TeaStoryGameOn a bright and sunny day at Kew Gardens, a group of ladies were enjoying a tea party. They ate yummy cakes and discussed foods from their native homeland, which brought back many good memories. ‘I spoke about food from my country Jordan, where I am going to visit tomorrow. When I get home my sister will come and see me and we will chat and cook some rice and chicken and work together, and sit and eat. All this food talk has made me hungry! So when I get home, I shall make food for my children and fold clothes before putting my feet up for some tea…..’

This is one of the many stories created during our bespoke tea party at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with Al Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre on Monday 29th April 2013 as part of the project Community Dialogues. The The tea party, originally a traditional English, became something new after the ladies all from Arabic descent from the Centre brought along their own traditional food. It was a lovely addition and very, very yummy! We really enjoyed this cultural mixing of food and language.

During the tea party the ladies played our specially designed parlour games exploring a series of edible plants at Kew Gardens these included tea, chillies, sugar, cocoa and the date palm; an edible plant cultivated in the Arab world. We explored their experiences of these plants and the ladies shared particular stories, recipes and memories, these were also captured on film in our set up ‘Stories Studio’ with filmmaker Shazia Ur-Rehman.

Here are a selection of photos from the day, we had our youngest tea guest attend this tea party!

(c) Photo credits: Mikey Knott

BBC Radio Interview with DJ Nihal

Having gone through my archives I came across this gem and decided to make a YouTube video for all to see! The interview took place last year during the Queens Jubilee celebrations of which I even provided a tea party for the Queen at the London Pride festival being one of the many things I talk about… I really enjoyed listening to the public opinions on tea and of course talking to DJ Nihal about my love of tea!

Community Dialogues: Tea Party with Al Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre


North African Tea PartyToday, were busy preparing and making our special parlour games for Monday’s Tea Party at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with Al Hasaniya Moroccan Womens’ Centre as part of our project; ‘Community Dialogues’.

The project ‘Community Dialogues’ aims to engage and bring together groups of different, diverse cultural backgrounds to creatively explore and exchange dialogues on edible plants at Kew. The origins of a series of edible plants are explored, how they are used in cooking and in particular specific stories shared and captured all of course over a good cuppa tea!

The Al-Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre serves the needs of Moroccan and Arabic-speaking women and their families in London. We had the pleasure of meeting the ladies, a lively bunch in March on a tour at Kew Gardens and are looking forward to hosting our bespoke tea party for them next week!

Articles and pictures to follow….