February 2018 | Modern Mummy

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Introducing.... Mrs Jones Tea's Afternoon Tea Box

There are lots of things I'm passionate about in life, three of them being good food, supporting local, independent businesses and vintage china - and the subject of today's blog post incorporates all of the above.

Mrs Jones Tea & China Hire was launched in 2016 by Weybridge mum of two, Gemma Jones. Gemma provides afternoon tea catering and vintage china hire for weddings and other events all over London (and closer to home in Surrey) and now has an amazing Afternoon Tea Box available to purchase over on her website, just in time for Mother's Day. This means that you can still give the gift of a gorgeous afternoon tea to someone special, even if you're unable to take them out for one!

Containing a beautiful, hand selected, vintage bone china cup, saucer and tea plate set, along with homemade scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream, tea bags, heart shaped sugar cubes and pretty napkins this really is the perfect present for a tea fan or a vintage lover!

Tea for one costs £30, and tea for two is just £40. What a lovely, quirky present - I think it's absolutely perfect for Mother's Day and I'm very honoured and grateful that Gemma chose to gift me one!

Mrs Jones Tea can deliver afternoon tea boxes locally for free (within three miles of Weybridge, Surrey) on 9th and 10th March. Boxes can also be posted, or couriered, nationwide when ordered before 6th March.

FOOD // A Tuscan Culinary Masterclass with Bookings For You + the Giovannini Family

Earlier this month, Jo Mackay from luxury villa holiday specialists Bookings For You invited me to take part in an Italian culinary masterclass hosted by the Giovannini family from Volterra in Tuscany.

The Giovannini family - made up of Mum, Fabiola, Dad, Giancarlo, Son, Dario and daughter-in-law, Vera - are second and third generation pastry chefs and together they own the award winning Dolceria del Corso pastry shop in Volterra, alongside a catering business that operates throughout Italy and beyond into Germany and France and, as if that didn't keep them busy enough already, they also run an event management company from their HQ in Tuscany to boot.

Bookings For You started working with Giovannini Enterprises back in 2015, helping them to promote their stunning country residence, Country Relais and Spa Le Capanne - a completely restored villa that sleeps 22, has it's own pool and comes beautifully fitted out with vintage furniture. The estate is also a place for the Giovannini family to showcase their culinary talents and has 400 olive trees in its grounds, enabling the family to produce their own Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

In my opinion, no other cuisine in the world compares to Italian cuisine. Italians have a way of turning the simplest ingredients into the most amazing meals and I think that's down to two things: (1) the quality of the ingredients that they use, and the fact that they are always local and always seasonal and (2) they are so passionate about cooking, and spending mealtimes with the people closest to them.

Which brings me nicely onto my amazing day of cooking and feasting with Jo, the Giovanninis and some of the loveliest bloggers I ever did meet! A day that starts with a breakfast of strong, fresh, black coffee and dairy free chocolate and beetroot cake is always going to be a good one.

The regional favourites that we got to make (and eat!) included bruschetta Toscana (simple baked bread with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper) bruschetta al pomodoro (the traditional Italian dish we all know and love) and crostini con fegatini (that's chicken livers to you and me - basically the Italian version of pate).


The second course was ravioli ricotta e spinaci con pomodorini pachino e basilico (homemade spinach and ricotta ravioli with a cherry tomato and basil sauce - and a dairy free version for me, which I was super grateful for!) and pici all etrusca (homemade pici pasta with a Tuscan sauce made from eggs, garlic, parsley, mint and basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and pecorino cheese - which can be left out if you're dairy free like me).

Coscio di cinghiale agli aromi con olive was certainly one way to end my month as a vegan. Giancarlo had slow roasted a huge leg of wild boar (brought over from Tuscany) when we first arrived, and four hours later it was cooked to perfection and served to us with hot black olives. Guys! I was so excited to shovel meat into my mouth (sorry vegan and veggie friends) that I didn't even take a photo. Yes you heard that right. I. Didn't. Take. A. Photo. It was SO GOOD! I might have had seconds and thirds.

I had to leave before the millefoglie crema chantilly e fruitti di bosco (traditional Italian cake with cream and berries) and tirimasu but I have it on very good authority that both were divine which, of course they were, as every single morsel that passed my lips that day was absolutely incredible.

I did, however, manage to fit in a cheeky little afternoon glass of chianti before I had to head off on the school run...


It's been ten years since I was last in Italy and it's a place that I've always wanted to travel to with the girls. When we decide to go I have 100% found the right person to get us there, and that's Jo from Bookings For You. Family means everything to Jo, and was one of the main motivations for her to set up the business back in 2011. She was pregnant with her second child and wanted to be able to work flexibly. Being able to help families plan special holidays is something she is incredibly passionate about and I know she will be able to help us organise our perfect first family trip out there. Bookings For You have more than 350 properties to choose from in Italy, France and Monaco - you can take a look at them all over on their website here.

Thanks so much to Jo and the Giovannini's for a wonderful day!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Love + Biscuits

I don't know about you, but when I think about Valentine's Day, the first thing that pops into my mind is food. Love? Pah! Fresh coffee and pastries? Three course meals? Chocolates? Biscuits? That's more like it!

I might not have any secret admirers, but I do have some lovely friends over at Biscuiteers who were thoughtful enough to send me over a box of their deliciously quirky personalised vintage love letter biscuits for Valentine's Day.

If you've not tried Biscuiteers biscuits before, you need to know that you're MISSING OUT. Seriously. They are AMAZING. Each biscuit is completely handmade, traditionally baked and beautifully iced, and they always come perfectly presented in specially decorated boxes or tins. They have different flavours for different occasions (the Valentines collection is vanilla, yum) and something for every budget. It's become a bit of a tradition for us to give boxes to our family every Christmas and last year we got them as teacher's gifts too. They're such a lovely, thoughtful, different way to send a message to someone you care about. They even have icing cafes in Notting Hill and Battersea so if you're ever near one of them and you're feeling creative you can decorate your own (they do seriously good coffee if you're not feeling quite so creative and just fancy eating some ready made ones).

The vintage love letters tin costs £35 but prices start at just £6 for a gingerbread Romeo or Mr Darcy. The personalised lobster biscuit box is one of my favourites at a middle-of-the-range £18 - what better way to tell someone you love them than with an edible lobster biscuit?

How will you be celebrating Valentine's Day this year?

Left treating yourself or your loved one until the last minute? Fret not - Biscuiteers are offering free next day delivery when you order before 1pm tomorrow (Tuesday 13th). Enter code LASTMINLOVE for free Royal Mail next day delivery on orders of £20 or more.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Celebrating Valentine's Day at Home with Wayfair + HelloFresh

Ahh Valentine's Day.

February 14th is a bit like marmite; you either love it or you hate it.

I'm most definitely a Valentine's Day lover. I think it's really important to show the people you care about just how much they mean to you - whether that's your other half, your kids, your parents or your friends. Of course you should do this every day but once a year it's nice to go the extra mile and really spoil them (and treat yourself too). This is something we've always done as a family. Heck, you know us! Any excuse to throw a mini party and we're all over it!

This year the girls and I joined forces with Wayfair and HelloFresh to create the perfect Valentine's night in - and despite our slightly unconventional Valentine's Day set up, we really did have a wonderful time.

My love for HelloFresh is well documented on this blog - the concept of having complete recipe boxes packed full of super fresh ingredients delivered to your door is totally genius for people like me, who really do want to cook tasty, healthy meals from scratch but are slightly lacking in the skills and/or time department (both in my case).

After a long day at work, having to shop for food and make an executive decision about what to cook for dinner each night used to stress me out no end - and that's the main reason I've bought HelloFresh boxes almost every week for the past year. I also hate wasting food (see my Guide to Reducing Food Waste if this is something you're interested in). There's never any waste when it comes to HelloFresh meals; firstly because you're sent the exact amount of ingredients needed already measured out for each recipe, but also because the meals are so darn tasty no one ever leaves any.

As part of this campaign we were asked to pick out some products from the Wayfair website so that we could dress our kitchen table beautifully for a Valentine's Day feast. Wayfair is one of my favourite places to shop for homewares; not only are they really affordable, they also offer fast and free shipping and stock EVERYTHING you could possibly wish for; from big bulky pieces of furniture to the little finishing touches, like cushions and lighting.

1. Gold Viners Cutlery Set, 16 pieces - £43.99 // 2. Schott Zweifel red wine glasses, set 
of 2 - £48.99 // 3. The DRH Collection Loire DOF whiskey glasses, set of 6, blue - £29.99 // 4. The DRH Collection small heart shaped baking dish, £15.99 // 5. Fairmont & Main Vie Naturelle dinner plates, set of 4 - £29.99

Whenever I buy things for our home, I always try and pick things that are a little bit different. I'm not a fan of plain white (apart from on my walls!). For me its all about colour and texture. The textile designer William Morris once said; "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." I think these are really wise words and, as such, I like to make sure that everything in our house is both.

When it came to choosing the items for this campaign, the ones that really stood out for me were the gold cutlery (they make such a nice change to the usual stainless steel sets you get and, in actual fact, I think gold and steel look really great mixed together), the beautiful, intricately designed, chunky glass tumblers, and I especially loved the crazing on the turquoise plates.

We celebrated an early Valentine's Day by cooking the HelloFresh Lentil and Vegetable Hotpot, adapting it slightly to substitute the cheddar cheese for a vegan alternative because of my dairy intolerance. It was delicious - and I'm positive it tasted better served on beautiful stoneware plates and eaten with elegant gold knives and forks!

Wherever you are, whoever you're with and whether you celebrate it or not, I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day next week!

DISCLAIMER: We were sent a complimentary HelloFresh box, together with the Wayfair products used to style this shoot, for the purpose of this blog post. All words are honest and my own, and all imagery is copyright. 

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