A Mellow + Mindful Tea Party

Friday, 5 May 2017

I don't know about you but recently, quite a few of my friends have been sharing something similar to this post over on Facebook:

My door is always open, the kettle can always be on and my sofa is always warm 
and a place of (relative) peace and non-judgement, any of my friends 
are welcome to chat, or just be, anytime. It 's no good suffering in silence.
 I have tea & coffee in the cupboard, hot chocolate, milk, sugar and wine in the fridge. 

You are always welcome! 

I'm sure you all already know this but everyone
 needs reminding that I have an  #OpenDoorPolicy.

What a lovely sentiment to share! What's more, these posts couldn't be more timely as next week is officially Mental Health Awareness Week. So, after writing and posting my own version of this message on my Facebook timeline, I started thinking about what kind of get-together I would like to host for a friend popping round in need of a chat. All my ruminating over the perfect kind of tea party led me to come up with a calming and humble theme that requires minimum effort to pull together and will, hopefully, create a restful setting for some serious catch-up time.

What sort of thing to serve:

This is obviously totally up to you and your knowledge of what your guests like, but here are a few easy options that won't break the bank or cause you excessive stress to put together! Remember, this tea party is supposed to offer you and your friend/s a pressure-free environment to chat, so don't kick things off by putting immense strain on yourself to make it perfect. Simple is best here. You can just nip to Tesco's and buy the cakes if you want!  

- Tea, coffee + hot chocolate
There's no tea party without the tea! I opted for caffeine-free fruit and herbal teas, as I know caffeine can be a no-no for anxiety sufferers. Also, be sure to ask your friends (although I'm sure you'll already know) if they still drink cow's milk- a lot of people with anxiety or depression also suffer from IBS and lactose can be a real headache for those guys. 

- A good old-fashioned, Mary Berry Victoria Sponge
Really easy to bake, takes about half an hour to knock together and, in my experience, is always a crowd-pleaser. If you're going with the floral theme, you could even pick a few primrose or chamomile heads and arrange them on top for a pretty touch.

- Some simple little fairy cakes or cupcakes
Again, really easy to bake and can be decorated any which way you please!

- A plate of shortbread, or other yummy biscuits
For those teatime callers that don't want an enormous slice of cake but would prefer to nibble on a buttery biscuit. On a serious note- I know that some of those suffering with social anxiety or recovering from an eating disorder might find eating in public a bit of a challenge, so always have something relatively 'easy' (ie. something reasonably sized that isn't going to make a mess) for them to eat.  

- A few scones
Sweet or savoury depending on whether your friends are big cheese and chutney fans or just here for the jam and clotted cream! I'm more of a savoury fan myself but, saying that, these lemon drizzle scones look absolutely blooming divine.

A few teeny-tiny fairy cakes should keep everyone happy! If your friends like a little challenge, you could even hold a mini cake decorating competition!

Here's the Mary Berry Showstopper! You can find her tried and tested recipe here. It's so simple to whip together and you can even fiddle around with the filling to make it Lemon or Orange or Chocolate- whatever you like! I just made the original recipe and then replaced the traditional jam layer with lemon curd for a little zesty twist.

A few extra ideas:

Put all phones in a jar, or at least switch them off. This is not the time to update your Snapchat story! Give everyone your undivided attention.

* Which leads me onto, no selfies. If you're the kind of group of friends that aren't bothered by being tagged in 100+ unflattering photos on Facebook then this is no biggie... go ahead and take your selfies! But, if you, or at least one member in your group is uncomfortable with being photographed do NOT make this into a photoshoot. This is a judgement-free zone people! You want everyone to feel comfortable enough to just be themselves without worrying about how they look today.

Stick a record or a podcast on. There's something so warm and earthy about listening to the crackling of your favourite record going round. Alternatively, if you want something to truly inspire your guests, Sophie Hagen's Made of Human podcast is so open and honest that I guarantee it will get everyone talking about mental health in no time.

* Have some paper or notebooks to hand just in case you want to jot something down or doodle. Some people don't feel comfortable having full-on, deep conversations (even with good friends) without being able to do something with their hands. Have a little pad of paper for them to scribble on if they want to. Equally, someone might offer you a great tip or the name of a book/podcast that they recommend and you don't want to be caught short without a pen and paper!

* Put together a little something for your guests to take home. This could be anything from a handwritten list of some helpful podcasts to a little basket of self-care essentials. There's no greater feeling than coming away from a good chat about your mental health with some practical tools to arm yourself with. Plus, it's just nice to show people you care!

Create a simple 'tea bar' for your friends to pick a bag from. Be sure to have a hot pot of water at the ready, as well as your best mugs and teacups!

Decoration-wise, for this tea party I paired a higgeldey-piggeledy bunch of crockery with neutral linens and dainty flowers in order to create a calm and pretty look that isn't too overwhelming or fussy. My favourite addition to any table is a plain and simple milk jug filled with a few sprigs of baby's breath- I always think it looks so fresh and understated, perfect for this humble little catch-up!

I really hope these ideas prompt you to get together with your friends and have those all-important conversations about your general wellbeing and mental health. I think it's high time we all started having these chats and hosting this kind of get-together more often! So what are you waiting for? Get organising!

Here are some handy links for getting more info about mental health:

Mind- for general information about mental health.

Beat- for lots of handy information about eating disorders.

Anxiety UK- for help with anxiety and anxiety-based depression.

CALM- support tailored for men of any age.

HeadMeds- for details about different medications + their dietary requirements.

Heads Together- for great video examples on how to start that conversation.

+ If you need urgent help, you can ring the Samaritans on 116 123, or SANEline on 0300 304 7000.

Have you ever had a mental health chat/tea party with anyone? I'd love to know all about it in the comments below! Particularly if you have any tips to share about how to kick start this kind of conversation!

In the meantime,
All my love,

Siân x


  1. Just reading this post made me more calm, haha! Such lovely, thoughtful ideas. I will try and put them into practice! :)


    1. Oh that makes me so happy Francesca! Thank you for reading :) x

  2. I just think this is such a lovely idea to bring people together for a chilled, relaxed and peaceful tea party. I suffer with anxiety and as exhausting it can be I think this would be the perfect idea to take your mind off of any worries. That cake looks so delicious! Lovely post :)

    Kayleigh | www.anenthusiasmfor.co.uk

    1. Thank you (as always!) Kayleigh :) I wrote this for fellow anxiety sufferers and I'm so glad it found its way to you! The cake certainly was very yummy! x

  3. I love this! Such a good idea xxx


  4. What a pretty cake, and seems delicious too. Decorations are pretty and looks simple yet beautiful. I am planning a grand tea snack party at Los Angeles event venues for all my friends and relatives, so I need some decoration ideas and menu items ideas too. Can you please help me to make this party superb!


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