When I decided to do something to raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice, the obvious answer was to do something involving food. Everyone loves afternoon tea, so that was the plan: proper afternoon tea served at tables in the garden with a charge for the food in order to raise money. Simple eh?
It was a big job but I was up to the challenge. So the invite went round and people were signing up. I made lists. Lists of lists. But all of the organisation in the world is no good unless you have amazing people helping you out, and I had them in spades.
I was working on the assumption that it was going to be a perfectly sunny day so my mate Suzanne was the reality check I needed – she is a whirlwind of organisation so before I knew it she’d measured up the garden, borrowed a massive gazebo, done a seating plan, made 20m of bunting and signed up her mum to help. HERO!
I baked with military precision, starting about nine days before, making fruit cake first followed by freezable items. Of course I hadn’t considered how much there was and so Suzanne had to empty half her freezer for me as well!
I had set up a table with all of my ingredients on and a few days into baking, Andrew walked past it and it collapsed! Amazingly the four bags of flour on there didn’t burst open but it was a right old mess! I also had 18 blocks of butter and six dozen eggs (plus two pots of egg whites) – basically we had no food in the house except for ingredients.
So what did I bake?
Plus on the day we made chicken sandwiches and ham wraps! Honestly I was sick of the site of my kitchen!
As soon as I said I was planning this, my lovely friend Michelle offered the use of vintage china. It really, really made a difference and was sooo pretty. Michelle and her business partner run Ella Jayne’s Emporium in Horwich near Bolton.
If you are after pre-loved, upcycled or shabby chic furniture, or want to hire china for your big event, speak to Michelle and Kieran.
As I baked, Andrew did an amazing job clearing the house and garden up, friends came and put gazebos up and decorated them with bunting and balloons, and slowly but surely everything started to come together.
The lovely folk at Domu gave me this amazing Vonchef drinks dispenser for the event. It is lightweight plastic which is great for me as I’d be terrified of smashing a glass one. You can have up to three separate drinks in there and there is an ice holder at the bottom which means you can keep all of your drinks cool without diluting them. Barbara from Gribbin and Bear supplied some orange and cardamom cordial to serve up in it which is delicious: orange with a little je ne sais quoi! She also kindly donated some gift sets of her artisan preserves for the tombola.
It was an amazing event, everyone turned up (about 45 people), the rain stopped and the sun shined for the first time in days! I saw old school friends and ex-work colleagues I haven’t seen in years, friends and family. I brought the record player down and played rat pack tunes all afternoon, much to the amusement of one of my youngest relatives who’d never seen a record before!
Lactalis UK provided us with a cheeseboard of epic proportions! A huge Cornish brie, Galbani Dolcelatte and vintage Seriously Strong Cheddar. I was even able to give some to a local homeless project as we had so much!
Friends also baked so I must send big thanks to Corrine, Llinos and my sister’s friend Morgan who added to the general deliciousness of the day!
Massive thanks to my mum who organised the biggest tombola ever. She got everyone she knows to contribute and we had bottles of everything from Mr Muscle (we won!) to Grey Goose (we didn’t win!) Thanks also to Aunty Pauline who baked and jammed for us to raffle and sell off.
Everyone seemed to love having the food served to them on the beautiful china, Andrew kept the tea and coffee flowing and there was no shorted of people going back to the cake table and cheese table for seconds!
We’d raised loads of money on the day, then Suzanne turned into delivery woman and took plates of cake and cheese to friends in exchange for a donation! Money was still coming in this week, but it looks like we have made £740 which is amazing.
Would I do it again? Lets just say, next year we BBQ!