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Tuesday 2 August 2011

The Vintage Tea Party: The Most Beautiful Book Ever?

I have a longstanding love affair with cookery books and beautiful illustrations. I used to read the cookery books over breakfast before school. And Jan Pienkowski's wonderful marbling and cut-outs for Joan Aiken's stories made me feel gloriously restless and like I wanted to fly away - and could! Although not after breakfast, probably.

So when I saw The Vintage Tea Party Book up for grabs at work, I pounced. It's beautiful. It has a window for the front cover! I LOVE windows I can't fall out of.

And look, when you open it - oh!

It's by a girl called Angel Adoree, who runs The Vintage Patisserie. She used to hold wonderful vintage shopping and eating events in east London, one of which I was lucky enough to attend back in 2007. It was bloody amazing and I fell madly in love with a belt.

This book here is filled with memories, party advice and gorgeous that are both easy and special - my favourite kind. The serving suggestions are just genius. Why the hell haven't I bothered serving juice in my nice tea cups? With a baby carrot stirrer. Or made bunting, or lollipops, out of sandwiches! OF COURSE I should be tarting up my pannacottas with cheap but gorgeous edible rose prints! As for striped meringues - well, I rest my case.

Bunting sandwiches!

It's also got advice on customising charity shop china, making your own hats, fool-proof fake eyelash application and patterns for making awesome aprons. But most of all, it's laden with practical advice for how to bring some extra wow into your party. Why I have never thought of freezing mango juice and mint to make ice cubes for bellinis before? What kind of shit have I been serving my guests?

Littered throughout are beautiful photos, and - my particular favourite - stunning illustrations. The illustrator isn't properly credited, unless Angel's talents extend to beautiful paintings? Although I was slightly confused by a mention of "Adele (illustrations)" in one of the great photo montages at the beginning of the book. Which Adele? Tell me, I want to buy your EVERYTHING.

This really is a book to savour, not just for its delicious and wonderfully creative recipes, but to remind yourself of the joy that comes from leafing through an beautifully put together book.

The Vintage Tea Party Book retails at £20, but you can buy it from a bunch of places like Amazon for £10.

NB - Thanks to reader Penny Dreadful for pointing out that the book's illustrator was indeed an Adele - Adele Mildred. Sadly there's nothing to buy on her website, but here's an interesting piece from the LA Weekly in 2007 about her.


  1. Aaaaah, that is so beautiful! Yum, I want.

  2. Adele Mildred is the illustrator, I got a copy last week and the credits are circling round Queen Liz at the front x

  3. Thank you PD! Will amend. Bloody tiny credits...

  4. Oooh! This is gorgeous! It can go on my wishlist
    . :-)

  5. Wow! what a gorgeous purchase; very decadent ;-)

  6. BUNTING SANDWICHES! Is there anything better in the entire world?

  7. This looks so beautiful! All my friends - close your eyes now, I reckon this might become a good few birthday/Christmas presents.

  8. *ahem* FRANCES! Why are you not buying OUR book for your friends' presents?

    Seriously, I absolutely adore Angel and her work (and also her hair). She turns the whole vintage thing into an art and is never without a creative idea in an industry with a pretty huge bandwagon. Can't wait to get my mits on this book, everything Angel does deserves the attention it gets, she's marvellous.

  9. Thank you for such lovely a lovely review Kat B and feedback! The book was only out yesterday, so I've been anxious people are going to like it! By the way its Its Angel here...:-)

    Just a note on the illustrator, All credits are round our Queen L... ADELE MILDRED is a genius and one of my dear friends and I'd simply hate anyone to think she was credited unfairly. On that note If anyone wants her details, please e-mail me :-) Love Angel X

  10. Aha! I was doing detective work and saw Adele Mildred thanked at the end, and then the Adele in the photo credited as the illustrator, but wasn't sure if I was putting two and two together and making 12.

    Such a beautiful book - having read it and loved it, I'm giving it to a friend of mine who is a consummate thrower of beautiful parties and will be able to use all the tips. For my benefit, naturally! ;)


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