Taking a break from a heavy workload has always been a necessity for students, something I know all too well about being a third-year history student at King’s College London. If the title of my blog didn’t serve as evidence enough, one of my favourite ways to relax and unwind is with a three-tiered cake stand! Afternoon tea is a really special, fun and social way to catch up with your friends and to enter a food coma that puts any work for the rest of the day completely out of the question.
Because I see it as such a fantastic social opportunity that my friends and I all really enjoy and look forward to, I was completely delighted to stumble across this article on the BBC, which showed that afternoon tea was also used by female Victorian students at Royal Holloway in exactly the same manner.
“Students had five o’clock tea in their rooms every day, because socialising and entertaining was important to upper middle-class families, so it was an important space for them.”
Now I thought that I was being really clever by showing this article to my father. Whenever I ring him with the predicament that I have yet again run out of money, I can hear my mother in the background huffing and puffing about how I’ve been eating out too much, which leads to him commenting on how I’m constantly trying to live beyond my means, as normal students don’t indulge regularly in afternoon tea. So I took this article to him to prove him otherwise. Within thirty seconds he managed to pick out that these were upper middle-class students (something, he reminded me, I am not), and that even with all their riches they are dining in, which is much cheaper than dining out. So back on my way I was sent and on Christmas Day this year I was presented with a parcel that contained the most beautiful recipe book cum party planner called The Vintage Tea Party Year, so that apparently I can create my own afternoon teas in my own student flat and recreate a modern day version of this delightful social situation myself. I am sure the photos of this event are highly anticipated after my last baking disaster, which saw melted “jaffa” strewn across the worktop and floor… But I think it’s an exciting idea to host your own tea party, which not only can save you money and allow you to be a little bit creative with your choices, but the preparation alone means that there is even less time for you to spend studying, which can only be a good thing in my book!