Saturday, 17 November 2012

A Perfect Spot for a Pot of Tea and a Slice of Cake

Today saw the long awaited opening of a new tea room.  This isn't any old tea room.  This is a tea room opened by my aunt (my mum's younger sister) and one of her friends.  I have known about this for what feels like forever!  I had chatted to my aunt about it and heard all of her ideas about different aspects of how the tea room would look.  In many ways it's just what I would do and reflects the kind of style of many of my favourite tea joints!

The tea shop is called Buscall and Flynn's (the surnames of the two owners) and is in Chelmsford, Essex.  It was truly amazing seeing this becoming a reality. 

After a frantic rush we made it there in time for the opening, phew.  Here is the cutting of the ribbon and declaring it open for business.  It was exciting waiting for the customers to flock in and boy flock in is exactly what they did.  I went along to help out for (what was supposed to be) the morning but as the customers kept coming and the orders needing taking I ended up staying longer than I had intended!  I didn't mind as it was all hands needed on deck for the first day.

I was given a uniform pinny and put to work as a waitress for the day.  Hehe!  I must add here that this is me posing for a picture taken by my brother, I'm pretty sure I did not have this expression on my face when I was taking orders for real!  It was hard work and I am certainly planning on a very chilled day tomorrow to recover.  I was serving customers upstairs and I definitely got plenty of exercise running up and down the stairs.  I have never worked as a waitress before and was so pleased that I didn't spill anything or drop anything (particularly on the customers!) and especially as I was carrying loaded trays full of vintage crockery up and down stairs.

Scones and cakes.  Cream tea anyone?
Mini diddy cupcakes on a gorgeous cake stand made from vintage plates by my aunt.  These particular plates belonged to my beautiful nan.  She would have been so very very proud of my aunt today and what she has achieved.  So wonderful to have some of her crockery there today being enjoyed and displayed.
A fridge full of cupcakes!  Gorgeous!

 All of the furniture and crockery for the tea room has been collected over the past few months by Rachel and Angela.  Chairs and tables were bought in smaller sets from ebay and then painted by Angela and Rachel, along with some other helpers.  The crockery has been amassed from, not only personal collections such as those that came from my nan, but also from a number of car boot sales, charity shops and ebay.  The end result of mismatching cups, saucers and plates adds to the overall charm and provided a talking point for many of the customers today (one of the questions I was asked several times!)  I really wish I could have taken more pictures of the different crockery combinations but I was a bit too busy for anything more than the odd cheeky snap!  The cutlerly is gorgeous as was ordered as sets.

 I did manage to steal a couple of moments to sit down with a gorgeous rose lemonade just before lunchtime rush (which didn't end until closing time.)

 A range of yummy cakes and sandwiches (including bagels and panninis) are served alongside, of course cream teas.  If you happen to find yourself in Chelmsford, please do pop in.  The very lovely Kath popped in today for a spot of lunch with her hubby and gorgeous little boy.  I was so pleased that they could come along today on opening day (and just a bit annoyed that I didn't have time for a spot of catching up, sorry Kath.)
Before they opened, they had always planned to have a half price offer on all food orders on opening day.  Very sadly, a very good friend of my aunt  and (my favourite nearly) uncle passed away on Monday night.  He was a plumber by trade and had done all of the plumbing work in the tea room even though he was very ill.  As a tribute to him they offered all customers the option to pay full price for their food today, with 50% of the money going to Cancer Research Today's customers proved very generous and hopefully they raised a good sum of money to donate in Darren's name.
After a long day on my feet surrounded by cake and food what did I do when I got home?  I baked a cake of course! hehe!  I was sooooo craving cake after seeing so many tasty looking options.  It must be noted here that I did not shun the gorgeous cakes on offer.  They all looked and smelt delicious.  I am gluten intolerant and today there wasn't any gluten free cakes on offer (I have been informed that this won't always be the case!)  My aunt makes scrummy gluten free cakes and always considers me when baking (some family occasions are all gluten free so I don't miss out on anything!)  I look forward to going back very soon for a pot of tea and some cake!  For now here's the cake I had today.


I made this cake one of my absolute favourites.  I LOVE lemon cake.  In fact, I'm pretty sure about this, I think lemon cake is my favourite!  I am so tired (and I was so desperate to eat the cake!) that I forgot to do the lemon juice/icing sugar combo on the top.  Truth is, I think I prefer it this way.  The syrupy bit sometimes makes it too moist and too sweet.  I'm happy with how it turned out (oh and I was an egg short so added some milk! hehe!!  I NEVER usually play around with baking recipes, must have been getting big ideas having spent the day in a tea room!) 
What are your favourite cakes?  What are your favourite recipes/books?  (I love recipe books but that's a whole other post and I will dedicate time to that once my extensive collection is with me in my new kitchen!  I am excited about all my open shelves in the kitchen that I can fill with books.)
Thank you for reading,
Erin x
ps.  Thank you for all of your lovely words on my last post.  On a normal week I will take time to reply to comments but this week has been hectic to say the least, again that's another couple of posts!
pps.  The whole "my favourite nearly uncle thing" I think may need explaining.  My aunt and my (favourite nearly) uncle have been together for 25 years but aren't married.  When I was a teenager I got completely fixated on the idea that they should get married (partly as I hadn't been a bridesmaid by that point and wanted to change that! haha!)  I mentioned it to him every time I saw him, poor man, for at least 3 years!  Whoops!  At that point I used to call him my "nearly uncle" and then added favourite as he was the only one with that title so it made it easy to be the favourite (just like my nan always called me her favourite granddaughter and my brother was her favourite grandson as we were the only grandchidren!)  I must also add that I don't call him that all the time now.  Just every now and again for a joke!



  1. Firstly, sorry to hear about your uncle. He passed away the same day as my nan in law :(
    The tearoom looks lovely! I shall let you know what I think when I pop in on Monday xxxxx

  2. Lovely tea room and lovely blanket on your first post! So good to see you blogging, I follow your instagram all the time and I remember talking to you about how we wanted to start a blog at the start of summer! Hope you love it!

    Abi ( aejclarke on instagram x x x

  3. Realised I read that wrong and that it wasn't you uncle - oops x

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  5. Your Aunts Tearoom looks fabulous & so lovely that you were all involved for opening day. Congratulations on your new blog too, I love your IG photos so I knew it would be fab! Emma (lululoves) xx

  6. What a day you have had, after a weeks working too, oh and mad frantic hooking. The tearoom looks lovely, it is on the (very long) list of places to visit. A bitter sweet sort of day really.
    xx Sandi

  7. I just realised, I bought a little pate/butter knife the same as what you have in the tea room, I love it and would love a whole set.
    xx Sandi

  8. Awww you fit right in there, and I'm very impressed you didn't drop anything going up and down the stairs-I don't think I would be that able.
    Hopefully next time you visit, there will be some Gluten free cake on offer.
    I love the vintage crockery, and it's lovely that your aunt managed to include some of your Nan's crockery, it really brings meaning into the business!

    1. It is so lovely there! And like you, it's exactly how I'd have my own tea room too. Loved the pinnies! Just a delightful lunch with takeaway cake, too. Yum! Next time we'll catch up properly. Wish them luck, we'll spread the word!

    2. My aunt sends thanks for any word spreading you can do, very much appreciated!
      I think I forgot to add another very important aspect that I've just remembered. I made the bunting!! hehe!! I forgot about it and meant to take a picture but I didn't get there soon enough before it opening and is wasn't quiet enough downstairs when I was there to get a picture. I made it for my brother and sister in law's wedding. My aunt and uncle borrowed it to decorate their garden for their 50th birthday party. They still had it at theirs and my aunt mentioned they'd like some bunting in the tea room so I gave it to them! Must take a picture next time!!
      Erin x

  9. Ooh the tea room looks fab! Wish I lived closer so I could pay a visit. xx

  10. So let me get this straight, Your favourite nearly Uncle is alive and kicking but their lovely friend isn't? I'm sorry he didn't get to see how well the opening day went.

    I love that pic your brother took you look well cheeky!


  11. You got it Cuckoo. It was their friend that sadly passed away.
    You're always telling me that I'm cheeky, I could start to get a complex! x