Celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend has been made much more difficult by the coronavirus outbreak.
Restrictions on social gatherings mean that taking your Mum out for an afternoon tea on Sunday may no longer be desirable – or possible.
But if you are not avoiding seeing her, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make an occasion of this special day in your own space and spoil your mum.
You can recreate an afternoon tea setting at home with a colourful cake stand and tea set
We show you how to recreate an afternoon tea setting at home with a couple of colourful cake stands and tea sets to suit various budgets.
They include one created exclusively for the Royal Opera House by the designers Timorous Beasties.
Rachel Clark, of interior designers Alexander James Interiors, explained: ‘Planned Mother’s Day celebrations will be cancelled for so many this year.
‘However, during these difficult times, many may feel there is even more reason to do something special if they are still able to.
‘Although an afternoon tea at your local spa hotel may no longer be an option, you can still have a special day by creating an afternoon tea at home.
This cake stand has been created exclusively for the Royal Opera House
‘Dig out your favourite tea set and cake stand and bake up some of your favourite sweet treats using those ingredients at the back of your cupboard, put together some sandwiches and fetch some fresh flowers from the garden to pop in a vase at the table.
‘For those that are unable to visit their mums this Mother’s Day, take some cakes and sandwiches over to them in hamper and leave at the door. Return home, pop the kettle on and enjoy afternoon tea together over a video call.’
Th £is25 high street version is from John Lewis and has a hammered metal finish
To give you some ideas, we picked two cake stands – a high street version costing £25 and a designer version costing £45 plus £40 for the matching tea set.
Of course, cheaper tea sets are available, with cardboard cake stands available for less than £5.
The £25 high street version is from John Lewis and has a hammered metal finish and a traditional shaped and footed stand.
For the designer set, it hardly surprising that fans will need deeper pockets, with the cake stand costing £45 and the accompanying tea set at £40.
The colourful fine bone china set from Staffordshire Pottery comes with a design that provides a nod to the Royal Opera House – including drawings of instruments in the pale blue background.
Emma Matthews, from the Royal Opera House, said: ‘We all want to spoil our mothers on Mother’s Day and a lovely, personalised way to do just that is by dusting off your baking equipment and serving up a home-made afternoon tea.
‘Even if your cakes aren’t technically perfect, you can still wow your guests if you serve it on a pretty tea set.
‘Our collection with Timorous Beasties has fabulous, floral patterns and striking vivid colours, inspired by the architecture of the Royal Opera House.’
Six tips for afternoon tea at home
Afternoon tea has a long tradition at the Royal Opera House, being served at its restaurant.
It suggests the following six ways to stage the perfect afternoon tea at home on Mother’s Day:
• Plan your afternoon tea menu, but keep it simple and don’t be too ambitious
• Provide a mix of sweet and savoury – something to suit all tastes
• Prepare as much as you can in advance. You also want to enjoy the afternoon tea with your guests, and not be busy in the kitchen
• Serve a proper cup of tea in a proper teapot
• Don’t forget the finishing touches. Get your best china out on this special occasion
• Finish with a little something extra, like a glass of prosecco or two
The Royal Opera House collection also includes this tea set for one and some separate cups
There are two tea sets for one – where one has a combined teapot and the other does not
Look closely at the print and the background design reveals a silhouette of dancer and musical instruments inspired by the Royal Opera House
The tea sets were created for the Royal Opera House by the designers Timorous Beasties
The designer Timorous Beasties was founded in Glasgow in 1990 by Alistair Mcauley and Paul Simmons, who met studing textile design at Glasgow School of Art.
Today, the studio designs a range of products, including fabrics, wallpapers and lampshades.
It opened its first retail shop in 2004 on the Great Western Road in Glasgow, a central London showroom in 2007 and a Berlin showroom in 2019.
Its other clients include Famous Grouse, Nike, Fortnum and Mason, and Philip Treacy. It has also created home accessory lines for Liberty London and John Lewis.
Social gatherings amid coronavirus outbreak
Deciding to host a Mother’s Day afternoon tea at home would be in line with Government advice about social gatherings amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the country to stop all ‘non-essential’ contact with others.
Mr Johnson said people should avoid pubs, clubs and theatres, stop all non-essential contact and travel, and work from home if they can.
The PM set out the measures to tackle the ‘fast growth’ of coronavirus across Britain.
As part of the measures, anyone living in a household with somebody who has either a persistent cough or fever must now also isolate themselves for 14 days.
That may mean that you’re unable to visit your Mum. In such unusual circumstances, a tea set for one delivered to their door may be the idea gift to remind them that you’re thinking of them this Mother’s Day.
Even if your cakes aren’t perfect, you can still wow your guests if you serve it on a pretty tea set