Category Archives: Tea Parties

Teapots, dresses and cake

September in Wellington can be a rather interesting month. Start of spring – lovely days, warmer weather, bitterly cold Southerly gales, heaps of rain. And often the entire lot in the space of a day.

Which makes it the perfect time to plan inside activities with friends, such as high tea. 😉

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(And yes, it was rainy and windy outside. Perfect weather to get dressed up, eat small treats and drink pots of tea while chatting about sewing.)

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’d bought a discount voucher off one of those daily deal sites for a cute little retro-themed cafe that specialises in high teas. (I admit it – I find it hard to resist deals for high tea. I really enjoy taking time out to sit and chat with friends over cups of tea, and turning it into an “occasion” such as high tea makes it a lot easier to commit to finding time for it.)

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It was a very lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy Spring day. The food was (as always) delicious, the tea plentiful, and the company fantastic and inspiring. (Gotta love hanging out with other sewing people – I always come away with even more things I want to make!)

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And since I had my camera there (for garment photos afterwards), here’s a bunch of photos from the cafe….

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

High Tea at The Little Teapot | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Martha’s Pantry afternoon tea

Last Sunday, I got together with a lovely group of my girly friends for my baby shower. It was heaps of fun – we went for high tea at Martha’s Pantry, a gorgeous little cafe all chock full of girly vintage floral pink fun.

Which means that I now have another cafe high tea to review in this little series of high teas around Wellington.

Martha’s Pantry is one of my all-time favourite cafes. It’s tiny and adorable, with food of the type that’s clearly home-made, and pretty things to look at everywhere. The staff wear vintage styled dresses and cute aprons and red lipstick, tea is served in pots with hand-knitted tea cozys, and everything is mis-matched and adorable. And yet, I hardly ever get to go there – it’s down the far end of the CBD from where I work, and I hardly ever make it into the city during weekends. Which is a bit sad, really. Maybe while I’m on maternity leave I’ll have an excuse to go there more…..

Table settings – cute vintage bone china, silver cake forks, vintage embroidered table clothes, and flowers.

Cost: $25 per person, which is pretty much the same as everywhere else. They do state there is an extra charge for any dietary requirements though, such as gluten-free or vegetarian. We didn’t have any of those though, so I don’t know how much more they’d charge.

Decor: utterly delightful. Martha’s does atmosphere wonderfully – it’s quirky and feminine, and they really think about the little touches, such as bringing out pretty floral fans for everyone at the table when it’s warm, everything is served on lovely plates and in pretty cups, there’s a Bookcrossing shelf if you want something to read, and lots of potted flowers outside in the patio area. They’ve hit on the right mix of things to make it feel special, without being at all pretentious. It’s got a lovely welcoming atmosphere (although may be a little bit overwhelmingly female for some guys…..)

Hand knitted tea cozy, and a floral fan to chase away the heat

Service: Great. Staff are dressed up in lovely dresses and aprons, with vintage-inspired hair styles and make up. The kitchen area is tiny, so they’re often decorating cakes and the like right behind the counter – which means they’re always looking busy, but also are right nearby so can see if you want or need something.

Tea selection: Excellent. An extensive menu (two A4 pages worth), grouped into categories such as green, fruit infusions, black, etc. A good quality tea (although I can’t remember the brand), and it’s an organic New Zealand one as well. We had four pots of tea for the table – a pomegranate infused green tea, a Paris blend (similar to a Lady Grey), a cinnamon spice black tea (utterly divine – it was a sweet tea as well), and a mint blend. All were wonderful, and all came with the “proper” things to add to them (such as a little pot of honey, slices of lemon, etc). The staff kept an eye on them and topped up the pots when needed as well.

A tiny pot of runny honey for adding to the green and mint teas

Food: Lovely. Not as plentiful as at Whitby’s, but everything was well presented and delicious. The sweets in particular were gorgeous, with a decadent chocolate truffle, and creamy coconut ice.

Tasty tiers of treats

Total score: 10/10. I love Martha’s – it’s so adorable and friendly, and they really make high tea feel like a special indulgence.

High Tea at Whitbys

Today was round three in a new tradition of High Tea with a group of lovely ladies I work with. We seem to have fallen into a pattern of alternating High Tea at a restaurant/cafe and at someone’s house. (Last month it was at Naomi’s house.)

This time, we headed up to Whitby’s, the restaurant on level 17 of the James Cook hotel in central Wellington, and indulged in High Tea with bubbles. (Or in the case of myself and Naomi, who’s also pregnant, High Tea with orange juice.)

It was lovely – we hung out for a couple of hours, ate far too many tasty treats, and probably annoyed the rest of the restaurant by talking very loudly and screaming with laughter continuously. Hah.

Since we seem to be doing High Tea a bit, I’m thinking I’ll do a quick review of each cafe/restaurant we go to, just in case anyone is in Wellington and considering going out for high tea as well.

So, here we go…..

Cost: $25 per person, or $29 per person with a glass of bubbles or orange juice

Decor: a bit lacking, to be honest. No tablecloths, and it just doesn’t seem to be a proper high tea without a nice tablecloth, in my opinion. Nothing particularly exciting or interesting about how the tables were set up – it was just a table, that happened to have tasty food on it. *shrug*

Service: quite good, once you figure out where to go to let them know you’ve arrived. Friendly and cheerful. There were bottles of water on the table when we arrived, but they never checked if we needed them refilled while we were there.

Tea selection: Dilmah luxury teas. I had the Rose with French Vanilla, which smelt divine and was rather tasty. Rather than arriving in a pot though, the tea all arrived in cups with individual tea infusers in them. Which meant it was a bit too strong by the time it got to us. They did provide pots of hot water for a second cup of tea, though, which was nice.

Food: tasty, good variety, and lots of it. (I couldn’t quite finish, and had to leave a coconut biscuit behind. Very sad, haha.) We’d forgotten to warn them that two of us were pregnant (with all the associated dietary restrictions) but they happily and quickly sorted that out and made us special (and very tasty!) tomato-and-avocado sandwiches rather than the smoked-salmon or beef ones the other girls got. The chocolate-dipped strawberries were very lovely to finish with. The sultana scones and the cream puffs also got a special mention from the girls.

Would I go there again? Probably not – it’s nice, but nothing too special. While the food was lovely, I look for a bit more atmosphere when I go for high tea – give me somewhere girly and pretty instead! (So saying though, if you’re going out for high tea with a mixed gender group, Whitby’s probably isn’t a bad choice. No where near as girly as Hippopotamus or Martha’s Pantry.)

Total score: I’m going to give them a 6/10. The food was good, and the price was standard compared to other places around town, but it didn’t really feel overly special. Nice, but not spectacular. More the sort of place you go to with your grandmother, rather than somewhere to get dressed up and hang out for a girls afternoon.

A British-inspired ladies afternoon tea

A group of the girls I work with and I have started having regular ladies afternoon teas. We’ve had two so far – the first at a lovely restaurant in town, where we had high tea. Sadly, my camera died at the first photo, so I don’t have any pretty pics to share from that, which is a real shame as Hippopotamus (where we had high tea) is lovely – random chairs covered in pink and blue fabrics, pretty mis-matched china, and the most gorgeous tiered plates of high tea treats!

Anyway, after the fun we had having high tea at Hippopotamus, we decided we’d do this regularly, and promptly scheduled the next one as an afternoon tea at one of the girls houses. For added fun, we thought we’d go with a little bit of a British theme for it. (Not that we followed the theme very closely at all, but hey, the thought was there!)

And now, just because I’m hungry and waiting for dinner to cook, I thought I’d attempt to make you all a bit hungry as well and share what we had for afternoon tea the other weekend…..

The lovely Laurna with the spread. (Considering there were only four of us, we may have gone slightly over-board with the making of tasty treats….)

Smoked salmon, cream cheese and caper mini blinis, made by Jane.

Cucumber sandwiches by Jane, cheese and picked onion toothpicks by Laurna, and cheese puffs by me.

Lemon scones with whipped cream and lemon curd by Naomi; cute little cherry cakes by Laurna, cupcakes with blue strawberry icing and rice bubble and coconut balls by me.

Bakewell slice and gluten-free biscuits by Naomi, and just for a touch of Britain, a tea cozy and napkins.

We had such a lovely afternoon, eating lots of treats, drinking lots of various types of tea, and chatting away. Girly afternoon teas are the best! 🙂

Pink and Yellow tea party

One of my goals this year is to spend more time with friends. I’ve also had a few recipe books that I’ve been collecting (such as The Vintage Tea Party Book, Ladies A Plate and High Tea at the Victoria Room) that I’ve been looking for an excuse to try a few recipes from.

Ergo, I’m going to throw a few tea parties for some of my lovely friends this year! Tea parties – tasty food, pretty china cups, lovely girls to hang out with, and an excuse to dress up a bit. Perfect, no?

Just for the fun of it, I’m aiming to have one every 4-6 weeks, and each one will have a different colour theme.

I threw the first of what will (hopefully) be a series of tea parties this afternoon, with a pink and yellow theme.

Theme: Pink & Yellow


  • Hot baked grapefruit from The Vintage Tea Party Book
  • Cheese puffs from Ladies A Plate
  • Pikelets from Ladies A Plate, with rubarb and red berry jam or with homemade grapefruit marmalade
  • Rose petal and honey sandwiches from The Vintage Tea Party Book
  • Deluxe lemon slice from High Tea At The Victoria Room
  • Sugared cherries and grapes from The Vintage Tea Party Book
  • Cranberry juice with lemonade
  • Pineapple juice with lemonade
  • Orange tea


  • Sharla
  • Natalie
  • Nicola
  • Heather

My Outfit:

  • the January Dress
  • Pink cardigan from a clothes swap party
  • Yellow Adidas sneakers (the only pink or yellow shoes I own!)