Thursday, 9 May 2013

Positive Action on Cancer - Hosting the Perfect Party

For those of you who are not aware of PAC, they offer free counselling to those affected by life threatening illnesses such as cancer. All too often those close to someone with a serious illness are themselves neglected and PAC offer help to these people as well. PAC right this wrong and help many spouses, partners and children of those affected by serious illnesses. Counselling is however, very expensive and so for PAC to continue their good work they need financial support. A great way to do this is to invite round some friends and have a tea party. So, whether it’s tea for two or tea for twenty there are certain simple steps that need to be taken to ensure your party runs smoothly. Follow these and you and your guest will be as happy as can be!

Your home is often the best place to host a party, but if you don’t feel happy hosting in your home perhaps you can borrow someone else’s? You could do the ‘dirty’ work in your kitchen and deliver the goodies to them. It splits the amount of work you need to do in half and you can share the glory!

Do you have an outside space? OK, so its weather dependent but there’s always the trusty gazebo!

The room above the pub? Sometimes places let you have spaces very cheaply or even for free, as long as they can provide the drinks. Again, this could lessen your workload if you only need to provide the food and not the drinks too.

Get creative. We have a caravan we sometime host tea parties in!

The invitation sets the tone of your event. If you’re competent with a computer then you could design your own. There’s a wealth of free clip art and printables available online or you can use your own photos which you’ve uploaded. The added benefit to this is you can email rather than pay for stamps

You can buy lovely invitations from many of our independent shops but for a unique and vintage feel why not send old photos with the details or the back, or vintage postcards? These are often found are car boot sales, auctions and flea markets but you are guaranteed to find them online too.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a hand drawn invitation. Blank postcards are easy to get hold of and if your tea party has a smaller amount of guests then it may be the best option. If you have the skills yourself then great, if not you may know someone who does!

Afternoon is the traditional time for a tea party but you need to find a time that suits you and your guests. It might be that straight after the school drop off might be best, or an evening party. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare. A lot of tea party elements need to be prepared fresh (scones especially!) so make sure you give this some thought.

Food and drink:
A good tea party needs to have savoury and sweet food and good quality tea. It’s always a good idea to provide cold drinks too and have some coffee handy but investing in good loose leaf tea will be much appreciated by your guests. Make sure your warm the pot first by pouring in boiling water and pouring out of the spout. Add a teaspoon of tea per cup and one extra ‘for the pot’. It’s always a good idea to have another, smaller pot to hold hot water to top up the tea if some guests find it a little strong.

Nothing beats a good cucumber sandwich! Cut off the crusts and cut again into fingers to ensure good presentation. If you’re making lot of different sandwiches make sure you prepare the filling in advance and assemble at the last minute. Stale bread is not pleasant! Also if you have any ‘soggy’ fillings (i.e. hummus, tuna mayo) a thin spreading of butter on the bread stops the moisture seeping through.

People love cake, but we often forget the best ones are often the most simple. A good Victoria Sponge or scones with jam and clotted cream are the absolute best. Just make sure (if you are making them yourself!) they are made fresh. If you're looking for other suggestions then check out the recipes on this blog, including the latest for PAC, lavender cupcakes.

Atmosphere and presentation: Good props can really make a party. A nice tablecloth, fresh flowers and real china make a huge difference and people really appreciate the effort. You can be as creative as you like, use a flag as a tablecloth, put out vintage hats and gloves for people to try on. You can provide games to play too!

Not everyone has teapots and teacups etc but you may know someone who does. See what you can borrow before spending money. You can pick things up at car boot and flea markets but you may not have time to start collecting. Hiring china can be the cheaper option, save you time and the washing up! Tea ‘n’ Cake is offering a 10% discount on china hire for PAC tea party events. We also promise to donate another 10% directly to the charity. Contact or call on 07788 563 208 and quote ‘PAC’ to ensure your discount.

Essentials for a tea party:
Teapots, Teacups and Saucers, Teaspoons, Sugar Bowls, Milk Jugs, Cake Stands/Plates, Serving plates.

Making money:
The most obvious way to do this is to charge your guests a ‘suggested donation’ but there are other ways to add to the ‘pot’. Raffles are easy and often guests will bring a prize to donate. If you and your guests are parents a toy ‘bring and buy’ helps get rid of unwanted toys and gives an opportunity to get some bargains too. You can make extra cakes and biscuits and sell these. If you have lots of talented friends and/or friends who are in business you can hold a ‘promises’ auction. For example one friend could offer a nights babysitting, another to cook and deliver a meal for two. Be as creative as you can, and make it entertaining! People will only enjoy the party more and you can raise the most amount money for a great cause.

Have fun!
This is not meant to be stressful! Keep it simple and make it fun!

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