Breezy days and warm sunny afternoons are here. Afternoon tea season. I love taking tea outside in the grass, on the porch or in the garden with the flowers.
May Day is May 1st and was originally an ancient festival to celebrate the spring's arrival with dancing, feasting and of course - a May Pole. I remember when I was little, I'd go outside on this spring day, collect flowers in a small basket, make flower necklaces from clover blossoms and create sweet little note cards featuring flowers. This was my first May Day in well over a decade as I hadn't celebrated it even before I entered the cult when I was 20. This year has been a celebration of my freedom from that cult and I've been taking every opportunity to do something special. For this occasion, I remembered my childhood activities and put an adult spin on them.
For past afternoon teas, I've had my gal pals and I got ALL OUT with decorating and presentation. I'd spend a good month planning all the details then a week of prepping and decorating. Those afternoon teas are beautiful, but not very relaxing for me, though I have fun putting them together.
I'm learning to do simpler teas for myself. During this plague it's really my only option which is wonderful because it's teaching me to do tea simply but still beautifully. Lately, I've been inspired to grow into my surrounding culture and heritage - a true southern belle. Mainly I'm a Virginian, as that's where I lived for almost the entirety of my life thus far, but by birth, I'm a Texan since I was born in Dallas. Now I live in South Carolina, just minutes from the North Carolina border and one of it's biggest cities - Charlotte. I'm officially Southern now, though it didn't much feel like it growing up since my hometown of Charlottesville, VA has such a neutral accent and my parents are from way up North. I prided myself on having a neutral accent for years but after living in the Shenandoah Valley and now living in one of the most quintessential Southern states, a Southern drawl is slipping in stronger and stronger. At this point I'm putting up the white flag and finally embracing my Southerness. That includes taking tea more frequently. But I've not quite got the taste just yet for sweet tea. I know, I know. To all you Southerners out there: it's all about the baby steps, right? I don't even know how to make it but I'll get there soon enough. For now, I like my tea simple...no garnishes or additives, just as is.
In keeping with some kind of a theme, I chose simply blue for this solo afternoon tea. I have the most precious blanket, made in the amish in Lancaster County of Pennsylvania, with sweet little blue blue flowers. I chose a dress with the opposite pattern - dark blue background and white flowers. My hat was an early birthday present from a dear friend that I wrapped a light blue ribbon on with tiny white flowers. Even my tea-for-one service was blue and white toile. The napkin was white with lace edges and corners.
For the tea itself, I chose the Dolce Vita tea assortment, for it's blue box. The snacks were simple: oranges, blueberries, an apple, turkey sandwiches with honey mustard on homemade soda bread.
My brother (who has Down Syndrome and autism) graciously helped me take some of the pictures.
Afternoon tea should happen on a more regular basis without the pomp and circumstance. Just simple, enjoyable, relaxing and tasty.