Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Interview of the Month - July

The English Tea Party has a cuppa with Carrie Ryan from La Belle Epoque Jewels...

I was very excited to be doing this interview…it involved diamonds and gorgeous jewellery, so I knew I was on to a winner from the start. Our location was LaDuree at The Dubai Mall, a firm favourite of The English Tea Party, so much so I feel it very much a second office!  I met with Carrie who oozes the style and glamour of the 1950’s…she was dressed in a stunning pencil skirt teamed with black platform patents and a gorge snakeskin 40’s handbag and accessorised with jewellery to die for. Macaroons and Café Crème were ordered, girly chit chat had, swooning at the jewellery she brought to show me finished, it was time to chat with Dubai’s Antique and Fine jewellery expert and owner of La Belle ÉpoqueJewels.
Carrie and Victoria at LaDuree

Carrie your jewellery is beautiful – tell me how did you start La Belle Époque Jewels?
My love for antiques originally came about while working in Brisbane for an antique dealership selling everything from architectural pieces and furniture from French Chateau’s, recycled and reclaimed timbers, through to fine antique jewellery. It was when the company begun sourcing the estate jewellery that I realised I could combine my love of all things old with all things jewellery. I began collecting myself but did not take leap of faith to start La Belle Époque Jewels until late last year. Arriving in Dubai two years earlier, I was disappointed by the variety of jewellery and the carbon copies available from one store to another. I had already completed my studies to become a Graduate Gemmologist (G.G.) with I.G.I. in Dubai (International Gemmology Institute) and then I went on and did further qualifications with the GIA  to certify as an Accredited Jewellery Professional (A.J.P). When I couldn’t find a suitable placement within an existing enterprise here I suppose it just felt like the right time to venture out on my own.

A collection of some stunning pieces...1960's French Opal with 1ct diamonds. 1940's pearl and diamond ring. 1880 Victorian Cameo brooch. Dimaond hummingbird brooch.

How and where do you source the jewellery?
I love to travel and I am always on the lookout for new pieces to add to the collection. My current collection has been mainly sourced from South America and France. I also work with an established network of international dealers who keep me informed on new finds and can assist me with helping a client with specific requirements find their very own slice of history.
These were truly stunning and rather weighty too...10ct dimaond ear pendants

Are there particular pieces, styles or qualities you look for when sourcing?
My collection is a wonderful example of fine jewellery from many era’s, so from the Edwardian and Art Deco through to Victoriana and retro. Obviously condition and quality is paramount along with the actual style and era of each piece. I am immediately drawn to anything Edwardian (also known as the Garland style) and Art Deco. For me, the craftsmanship that went into creating the intricacies of these pieces makes them all the more special. However, I constantly reminding myself that my clientele have different tastes than I do. So I do spend a lot of time ensuring I have a vast variety of styles, ages, and also price points to be able to offer something to everybody. My current must have is anything depicting snakes – I had two very different but equally amazing pieces (one from the 1880’s and one from the 1940’s) that created a lot of interest among my clientele.
1920's Art Deco Ruby and Diamond pendant on original Plat, chain

Who would be your typical client?
I have core base of some fantastic clients who I arrange private viewing sessions with from all nationalities. I have some wonderful Emirati ladies who like to create their own private collection in which they know are one offs and who are enjoying the new concept of Vintage here in the Middle East. Then of course I have a good network of British, South African and Australian ladies who are more familiar with the concept and who are looking for something different that you can’t buy elsewhere in the UAE.
1960's Cabachon Star Sapphire Diamond Ring

Are there certain pieces in the current collection that are popular?
Yes – anything big and blingy! The 1940’s pieces I have in the collection seem to be proving very popular as they certainly make a statement!  Also pieces depicting animal imagery such as snakes and panthers, which nods to the trend, set by Cartier with their famous animal collections.
Circa 1880 gold enamel and diamond cuff along with other stunning pieces from the collection

As a huge ambassador of ‘vintage’ and ‘antique’ style, what tips can you give on looking and bagging that ‘special’ find’?
Using a trusted source and doing your research are really important to make sure your purchase is genuine. I have seen so many reproductions across the globe across all genres of items, so when making big purchases it’s really important to get a certificate of authentication.
This really was my favourite piece and has my name all over it - a simply elegant diamond daisy ring...Love!

A day in the life of... Carrie

What’s it like?
I like to try and do some exercise in the mornings normally a run (in the cooler months), then its breakfast and emails along with keeping on top of social media which is very popular in the UAE and has been a great tool for me to reach out and create awareness of my brand. Each day is different as I arrange private viewings of the collections with my clients which can last from 30 minutes up to two hours. I also speak with my suppliers on a regular basis and check the market trends. In the evenings I attend social events – there seem to be a lot here in Dubai! When not out for work I love catching up for dinner with my girlfriends – I love to try new places, with an abundance of amazing eateries across the city why not try them all?

What’s on your ipod at the moment?
(Carrie laughs)…well my music style is very eclectic and somewhat random! I like Sia an Aussie artist a lot at the moment as well as Adele. I have a soft spot for some of the golden oldies like ELO, Supertramp and you can never go past some Credence Clearwater… but am very happy trying to sing along to anything ridiculously ‘poppy’ on the radio.

                                      What’s your own jewellery style?
Understated elegance, less is more! I love the dangly art deco diamond, sapphire and micro pearl earrings I am wearing today.

Your top fave vintage purchases?
My Tiffany jewellery box I bought last year which is circa 1905
My croc handbag from the 1960’s which I got on a recent trip to the UK
My Rayne shoes from Reem’s Closet -  apparently they are the brand which makes shoes for the Queen!
My 1920’s art deco daisy diamond ring.

Fave vintage haunt?
I love vintage shopping in Europe – they always have such great markets and little unexpected shops, I especially love Italy and France.

Carrie has the most beautiful website and you can also follow her on facebook and you can stay up to date with her amazing antique, vintage and retro finds. You can also contact her to arrange a private viewing or even a girls night in drinking tea and admiring the fine jewellery collection on t +971509276400 or at

I hope that I have dropped enough hints to my husband during this write up that I should soon be sporting a very amazing antique diamond ring....well here's to hoping!! xx

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

June – The Summer issue

Welcome to The Summer Issue of we-love-to-tea-party! We have got loads of events, projects and parties happening over the coming months, so we will be regularly updating over the coming weeks!

Eco-Vintage Photoshoot :...

What we love about ‘’Vintage’’ is that it does not have a set formula it’s all about expressing your own style, individual interpretation and above all experimenting and having fun!  We thought it would be great to get together some local wedding and event suppliers to our HQ in Devon and all showcase what we have to offer.

The theme of ''eco-wedding’’ came about from speaking to many brides over the past few months who are all pulling in the purse strings and who are using more eco-friendly and in turn purse friendly solutions for their big days.


The morning of June 1st came and first to arrive were Hooe 'sYurts - a Devon based family run business who specialise in stunning round wooden tents based on a Mongolian nomadic design. The yurts come in various sizes from huge dining spaces to cosy snugs and it is possible to link yurts together creating an amazing space for a wedding reception for up to 200 guests. The yurts create a very special atmosphere and offer something really different from the traditional marquee. Amy from Hooe's Yurts is passionate about textiles and travels the world collecting items to lovingly decorate and furnish the yurts adding a real wow factor to the interiors. To compliment the reception venue Hooe's Yurts also offer exquisite honeymoon or guest bedroom yurts – which are simply chic and very romantic! Bedroom yurts are excellent for the bridal couple or special guests who want to stay at the wedding reception till dawn but also have a luxurious place to sleep. All the yurts can be well heated with traditional wood burners which make spring and autumn weddings a real possibility…needless to say we love them.

TETP Hire Parlour was raided for some of our beautiful early 1900’s vintage china. We opted for delicate patterns of summer roses and dainty floral patterns teamed with some darker, richer and bolder colours which worked well against the colourful and more tribal prints of the Yurt. We created simple place settings with dinner and tea plates in which a gorgeous tea cup and saucer was sat on. Instead of using the traditional favour and table centre pieces we used freshly cut and in season flowers placed into each cup – the effect was simply stunning.

Bold three tiered cake stands where used to showcase the homemade cakes from Tricky treats and homemade scones and sandwiches from TETP farmhouse kitchen (the team tucked into these during the day). TETP Hire Parlour also provided a selection of our finest Silver cutlery to finish off the table settings. We also used some gorgeous accessories from birdcages to pearls, Victorian tablecloths, Storm Lanterns and floral jugs.

TETP Out anf About
Last week was a busy week… Victoria went to Boutique 1 in Dubai to the launch of Lucy in Disguise – a vintage inspired fashion label by sisters Lily Allen and Sarah Owen – the collection is stunning and they have taken the best bits of vintage to make a modern day and wearable collection – we love it! Boutique 1 had put on a fabulous party feel to the event, yummy canapés, flowing drinks and music by Dubai's finest DJ Bliss…the guests were taken from a who's who in Dubai and all (of course) dressed in their finest regalia. 

Designers  and sisters Lily Allen and Sarah Owen

International stylists to the Stars and Guest Judge on Americas Next Top Model with Victoria Moy from TETP
Theresa Tsui, Dubai hot fashion video blogger, Victoria Moy, James Osman - hair stylist

The uber oool DJ Bliss

Clare and the City…
Clare is quickly becoming the IT girl of Dubai…her style is edgy and retro and her personality is somewhat effervescent, she hosted her first girls night out at The Address Dubai Marina….yummy cocktails where placed in our hands on arrival along with uber trendy moustaches on sticks, ladies than walked through the entrance of  floaty bubbles! Ladies could receive a relaxing message or others could tuck into the bucket loads of Lindt chocolate that were on every table, along with marshmallows and lollypops…for Victoria the choice was a no brainer…the chocolate won! Fashion bloggers, make up artists, hair stylists, businesswoman and socialites all mingled and had a very Clare and the City night...and of course all went home with a rather large goodie Clare would say we ''loves it'' !
Moustaches and ladies!!!!
The English Tea Party was really excited to be involved with the soft launch of My Ex Wardrobe- a portal for selling pre-loved clothes in Dubai. A really fabulous concept by three sisters all of whom have that entrepreneurial flair. The soft launch saw around 50 invite only ladies browsing through rails and rails of clothes from Zara to Chanel. Guests snacked on cucumber sandwiches, Victoria sponge slices and uber cool lemon cake pops from the Kitchens of Lilybakes. Tea, coffee and pink lemonade was served in our fashionably gorgeous vintage tea cups! The team had also provided a make up artist and stylist to keep the ladies occupied inbetween fitting room dashes! Great day!

Alice Temperley & Elemis
Off TETP went to Alice Temperley in the Dubai Mall for the launch of the ''Temperley for Elemis Traveller Safari set'' in aid of Mothers4children charity. It was obvious that it has been a busy social week as the best of Dubai's fashionistas and bloggers were all tucked up in bed. Even with attendence  low the quality was at its highest! TETP went along to the event with Sian from My Ex Wardobe, Carrie from La Belle Epoque Jewels and Dubai's elite fashion blogger Lisa Strannesten... we oogled at the beautiful fairy tale dresses, we munched on red velvet cake pops and relaxed with dreamy hand massages from Elemis! I think we should be in the running from a little Temperley gift??

Cakes for the shoot were supplied by Tricky Treats who are a fresh young Bournemouth based company that creates alternative cakes and desserts for private and commercial clients. They take great pride in using locally sourced raw ingredients, such as Oakdene Farm's Free-range eggs, from Verwood, and Cann Mill's Organic Flour, from Shaftesbury. All Tricky Treats products are free from artificial colourings and only use time honoured preservatives....mmmmm we love!
We were delighted to have Claire Sloane as our photographer for the shoot; Claire is based in the coastal town of Exmouth and took some really fabulous shots of the day. Claire is passionate about her work and the people she photographs. When Claire takes a picture she wants your personality to shine through in the images. Her photography sessions are all about you – her client:  your children, your pets, your life, and your moments. Claire’s shoots can be in the studio, or on location – like we had.  Above all her motto is to have fun together, get creative, and come away with images you will love….and the result yes we love them!

We were also delighted to be joined by the wonderfully fresh and chic Marry Me team. A web based company whose sites are your dedicated source to all things Wedding in Somerset and Devon from stunning, unique & quirly Venues to quality reputable Suppliers! Marry Me in a Flash is dedicated to professional UK Wedding Photographers and Videographers. They also have a fantastic forum for Wedding chat, help, advice, ideas and great discounts/offers exclusive to Marry Me - best of all it focuses on the Westcountry...we heart!

A HUGE thank you goes out to all our suppliers who very generously provided all of the photography, food, flowers, props and styling for the shoot. It couldn’t have been achieved without them and they made it so much fun!

Production: Nat Haydon at The English Tea Party
Yurt: Amy at Hooe’s Yurts
Photography: Claire at Claire Sloane Photography
Vintage crockery: The English Tea Party
Accessories and Props:The English Tea Party
Flowers: From the garden - Rosemary, Mint, Sage, Thyme, Chives, Purple Sage, Peonies, Rose, Lupins, Lavender, Pink Elderflower & Rhododendrons
Cakes: Lisa from Tricky Treats
Lisa made miniature Carrot cake filled with cream cheese frosting and topped with Butter cream Roses (made from natural colourings using turmeric and strawberries). The large top cake was also a carrot cake filled with Cream Cheese and covered in Royal Icing.
Media: Marry Me

and now for some more fabulous photos....

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

May/June - The Spring Issue

Welcome to the May/June issue of we-love-to-tea-party and we have just so much to write we have to start we the wedding of the Centuary; The marrage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and WOW what a truly special day that was. The Dress, the dress, the dress, we loved it, the Duchess channelled Grace kelly through the wonders of Sarah Burton at McQueen. naturally we loved the vintage inspiration and the wonderful British carftsmanship, she looked elegnat, regal, graeful and simply stunning. The English Tea Party wish the newlyweds a wonderful, long and happy life together.

The English Tea Party offered a Right Royal wedding Tea Party package and we SOLD OUT!! It was wnderful to see so many host their own tea parties to celebrate this wonderful occassion and using beautiful British crockery to do so!

On the Cakestand this month...
This month we are really excited to have been able to grab a cuppa (in a vintage teacup of course)! and an interview with the founders behind SolidariTea Arabia, Kellie Whitehead and Theresa Tsui, aka Mrs Pot and Mrs T...

How did you come up with the concept of SolidariTea?
K: SolidariTEA Arabia is the result of a very late night conversation between us both. The seed and input comes from Theresa and Theresa only  (Theresa: *blush* *blush* *blush* not true!) – as she learned about the UK concept via her daughter having worked on something at school. As my mamavents business works in bringing women together holistically online and off, the ‘events’ part of the logistics, the contacts etc was already in place – Dubai is already as multicultural as they come, and it seemed a perfect fit – I’ll let Theresa tell you all about the concept itself…

T:  My 15 year old daughter was involved in the organisation of her school SolidariTea which took place at the beginning of 2011.  Pupils from all year groups came together over iced tea and cupcakes – there are very few occasions at school when *ALL* the pupils are able to congregate socially for no other reason than getting to know one another.  The event was a success and she thought that the SolidariTea concept would be a novel way of bringing a community together but was concerned that such a simple yet powerful way to raise awareness would just pass by the UAE/Middle East where meeting over tea is an integral part of the culture of this region even suggesting I host one at home and open the invitation to all.  At the beginning it was overwhelming; I didn’t know where to start and *that* fateful   ‘Late Night Conversation’ took place.  Kellie thought it was something that could be done regularly to keep the momentum and with the support of Mamavents; SolidariTea Arabia was born.  4 weeks later, we launched SolidariTea Arabia and 45 women came together.

How does it work and how can people get involved?
K: It’s *really* simple – or I think it is J We will hold  Bi-monthly events at nice venues for get-togethers over tea, of course, and breakfast/cake etc – we will choose a local charity each time, and all event proceeds go to the chosen charity, we’ll offer prizes and goody bags, and every attendee will go home feeling that the have enjoyed a fabulous morning of social banter, great refreshments, and all for a  good cause, making new friends  - learning a little and laughing a lot! Anyone can attend these ticketed events that we market via our database and social media – and twitter @loveteauae. The real community part is that people can hold their very own, in as simple, or as extravagant a way as they see fit.

T:  As Kellie said – it is really is a very simple concept.  Aside from our bi-monthly big tea we want to encourage women in the community to host their own.  Using the concept of SolidariTea, a gathering can be as small or large as you wish. It can be with a few friends coming together or a large afternoon high tea with an open invitation to the wider community. Anyone is welcome to participate or host their own.  Creating awareness is hugely important and there are so many different ways in which you can help a cause and it does not have to be monetary.   Our first community SolidariTea was a request from the Palestinian Childrens Relief Fund who asked supporters to donate soft toys for the ‘Teddies for Gaza’ initiative.  Fundraising can be as simple passing around a collection jar, suggesting a donation for attending the tea or as creative as selling cakes, handmade cards or jewellery.  The beauty of the SolidariTea campaign is that it is NOT affiliated to any particular cause, country, religion or political organisations.

What do you hope SolidariTea will achieve?

K: Well, as well as the ‘obvious’ elements of having a nice time and raising monies for charity, we hope to stay true to the original concept of multi-culture/faith – mamavents has always had a multi-national fanbase, but we want to work harder at maintaining this and building up a connection with Emirati women in particular as many expats express a desire to socialise and get to know local ladies better. We also really want to give a platform to the causes that might not get as much exposure as others , and staying true to the UN development goals wherever possible
T:  In the short term I hope that the community will adopt SolidariTea as a basis of meeting and strengthening ties between women and the wider community through the medium of tea.  The launch was a perfect example of women from many different cultures/religions/nationalities coming together.  Going forward I’d like to see the concept of SolidariTea growing organically, helping to shape the community and inspire others to keep the momentum going and persist in creating awareness for charities which come under the umbrella of the 8 Millennium Development Goals where possible.  Some of the charitable organisations which seek support fall under this umbrella are *right here* on our doorstep and need *your* help.   As Kellie said – we are providing these causes a platform to connect to supporters in the region.   Going forward I hope that SolidariTEA will be a forum which helps grow multi-faith understanding and co-operation, helping to build better solidarity in our local community and globally between people. 
Is it only possible to host a SolidariTea event in the UK or is it available elsewhere?
K: There is one happening in Florida as we speak! We *urge* people to hold them anywhere, for any reason, in any venue with as few or as many attendees as you wish. We will lend all the support we can – from providing delicious Numi Organic Tea to goodies and giveaways, to promotion if a public event and more…
T:  Many communities the world over have enjoyed SolidariTea to date and we can help you to host one of your own in Dubai, UAE or wherever you happen to be. Getting together over tea is such an accessible medium – the only ingredients you need is a venue and people! It can be as simple or as fancy as you like and wherever you like!  If you’d like to step up and host your own we’re on hand to suggest how the event can be organised; from which cause you might like to help to suggestions on how to create an event; to creative ways of raising awareness and how to invite the community to your SolidariTea.  Where possible we will also come and join in the fun! 

I see you are hosting a BeauTea event soon…tell us more?
K: We have always planned variations on the SolidariTea theme in order to keep the events and the brand itself ‘fresh’  - we plan SolidariTEANS to engage young people, MarTEAni evenings, where the ‘tea’ may be a bit stronger and so on – BeauTEA was always in the plan and came about organically when an associate  - ‘Sugaholic’ needed to raise funds to  continue their sponsorship of the education of an underprivileged child. They are currently selling their cakes for the cause and we wanted to help too. We are having an ‘intimate’ event on May 16th at an exclusive medispa where attendees will enjoy makeovers and demonstrations; of course, delicious organic tea and cake, and all proceeds will go to help Anjali. A limited number of places are available at AED 125 per person and must be reserved by emailing

T: After the launch of SolidariTea we started to think of different ways to spread the word whilst keeping in line with the message of SolidariTea.  The beauty (excuse the pun!) of the word ‘Tea’ is that is so versatile and words can be manipulated to include it.  We had lots of fun coming up with the various different events.  BeauTea is our first non-tea party style event and we will get to know celebrity skin guru Dr Mona Mirza and get the low-down on non-invasive surgery and aesthetic surgery.  Pampering and taking care of our appearance is massive in the Middle East and  something which most women have an interest in!  And best of all – we get support Sugaholic.  Cake for a cause who can resist?!
We at The English Tea Party in Dubai wholly support the work of SolidariTea and think its a fantastic concept...we are looking forward to the next one on June 14th at The Ritz Carlton DIFC....well done ladies! xx

We are busy planning our Eco-Vintage themed photoshoot using local suppliers and products to showcase how you can recreate a vintage theme to your wedding or event - whilst being eco aware and not blowing the budget....we will keep you posted...or follow us on FB to see how we get on!

In the Press...
Its been a busy old month; however we were very excited to be invited to do an interview with our favourite wedding magazine: Martha Stewart Weddings Middle are some sneaky pics from behind the scenes on location in our fave Vintage store Bambah !...

Friday, 11 February 2011

February - The Romance Issue

Happy New Year...and welcome to our bumper February blog, The Romance Issue, of 'we-love-to-tea-party'.

Quick catch up...
TETP HQ had a busy couple of months over the Christmas and New Year period...a trip to London to meet with suppliers and discuss lots of new projects for keep posted. While in London some serious vintage shopping and sourcing of new products also took place, along with a wonderful afternoon spent at the V&A musuem. After which we had to indulge in our favourite tea time treat - a visit to the uber stylish Laduree cafe in Burlington Arcade, for scrumptious macaroons and a cuppa!
Victoria oustide the V&A Musuem London
Parisian Macaroons in London
We also had our fair share of holiday woes....a burglary left us in the communication laptop or mobile sent us spiraling into what seemed like the dark ages....that lasted for ages! Glad to report that we are now all back up and running on all the old contact details.

Love is in the Air...
With Valentines day fast approaching and Tiffanys and Cartier doing a roaring trade, there will be a huge increase in the sale of wedding magazines after February bride-to-be's excitingly embarking on the road of wedding planning! While in London I met with Luella's Boudoir in house wedding planner -The Vintage Planner aka the gorgeous Tiffany Grant Riley... I was lucky enough to interview Tiffany and get the low down on planning your big day....
Tiffany Grant-Riley, photo by
Why do you think Vintage style is so popular, yet so unique?
I think couples are trying to find special, one-off touches to enhance their day with, particularly in terms of bridal attire and vintage elements achieve this beautifully. We’re tired of mass produced things and want individual details that set our weddings apart from others, something bespoke and beautiful. Let’s not forget that vintage pieces have a history, a story behind them and I think this makes something all the more special, particularly hand made heirlooms.

When planning a wedding theme and style what do you advise couples?
Stay focused and keep it simple above all else-it’s easy in the beginning to want everything you see in the magazines, but you run the risk of over complicating things. Choose a colour scheme that works with your venue and compliments the time of year and then build on that. If you’re not sure where to start, look through some magazines or blogs (they don’t have to be bridal) and make a scrapbook of elements you love. After a while you ought to see a pattern emerge, whether it’s the same type of flower, colour or a particular motif.
What should brides focus on when creating the perfect wedding day?
Think about the kind of atmosphere you’d like to create and introduce little touches that say something about you and your fiancé and incorporate them. For example, if you’re both real foodies, concentrate on your menu or if the music holds real importance, then focus on that. Don’t get too distracted looking at other people’s weddings too, that’s their day, their style and their budget.
What are your top 5 tips on being organised?
• Plan
Sit down at the very beginning and discuss your wedding with your fiancé, from the time of year you plan to marry, to the theme (if any) and of course the budget. This is the time to be open and honest with each other so that you end up on the same page and facing the same direction. If you don’t take time to do this it’s likely you’ll encounter disagreements along the journey that can be easily avoided.
• Budget
Be frank with one another and realistic about what you can and can’t afford. The guest list has the biggest impact on your wedding finances as the majority of this will go into venue hire and catering, so if you know you can’t afford to feed 100 guests a 3 course extravaganza, don’t even try. If your parents are contributing to the day, discuss what you’d both like to do with them and if they have any particular requests as to how the money is spent. Above all, stick to your budget! There are some useful budgeting spreadsheets on various wedding websites that can help you stay on track.
• Research
Be sure to shop around when you’re sourcing your suppliers, everyone has a different style, work ethic and price range so choose the one that’s right for you. Try and arrange to meet or talk with three of each category to give yourself a good over view and don’t feel obliged to book with one on the spot.
• Schedule
Divide the forthcoming months before your wedding up with tasks and try and have everything apart from the small details complete one month before the day so that you can relax and enjoy the lead up. Get all the big tasks out of the way at the beginning such as finding your venue, photographer and caterer-these always get booked up well in advance with some booked two years ahead, so don’t sleep on it!
• Delegate
Make use of the friends and family members you trust-your bridesmaids should be your planning dream team (don’t choose any drama queens!) Perhaps you have a friend who is an expert baker that can help make or source your wedding cake, or a brother who plays in a band that can help audition for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you’d be surprised how many friends are more than happy to get stuck in.
You are now the official wedding planner for Luella’s boudoir – what’s that like?
Being a part of Luella’s is really special as I remember first meeting owner Rachel Attwell when I first started planning three years ago and being blown away by it. It’s just a gorgeous environment to go to work in, surrounded by bridal accessories all day, it’s hard not to wish to get married again! It’s also very exciting to be a part of the Luella’s expanding repertoire and our weddings in 2011 will be something to really shout about.
What do you think the hot new trends will be for 2011?
I’m seeing a lot of home-grown American country style emerging at the moment, particularly with barn venues. It would appear that couples are really making an effort with the small details and love the relaxed, informal style over the more polished and traditional, as if the wedding was a last minute idea and friends and family have thrown together whatever they can. I’m also seeing a lot of peach and aqua colour schemes creeping in along with a nod towards 1970s style-think maxi dresses, floppy hats ala Bianca Jagger on her wedding day and boho chic.

Some fun stuff… Being Tiffany
 A day in the life of Tiffany…what’s it like?
What I love about my job is no day is the same, I like to keep it varied. I normally start with my inbox catching up with emails and then it’s back to working on my clients’ weddings. Sometimes that’ll involve supplier meetings, venue viewings or desk based design work from the office at home. I had a baby boy four months ago so I have to divide my time entertaining him during the day, so now most of my work is done when he’s in bed or at the weekend when my husband looks after him. Busy times!

Who’s on your iPod at the moment?
I have a really eclectic mix of music, but my favourites are Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Dwele, Janelle Monae and anything involving Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and the Dorsey Brothers-I like music to unwind to. Kissey Asplund, Rumer and Lauren Pritchard are great for getting into a creative mood. Honestly, I could talk about music all day…

What’s in your wedding planning handbag?
Can’t go anywhere without my diary and iphone, I feel lost without them! Then there’s business cards and all the usual girly gubbins, along side a cheeky bar of chocolate or two…I’m a sucker for chocolate. If there’s a wedding magazine of choice it has to be Cosmo Bride or You & Your Wedding but if I’m lucky I’ll bag a copy of Martha Stewart Weddings to drool over!

Cupcake and cocktail or earl grey and cucumber sandwiches?
It would have to be cupcakes and cocktails any day of the week-I’m not a tea drinker! The real addiction has to be macaroons for me though, especially the pistachio variety from Paul’s. I love them!

For more information or to discuss your wedding planning with Tiffany, check out or at or email her on

A Glamorous Treat...
For all our Dubai readers you will have undoubtly heard, read and seen Dubai's most glamourous cook Dalia Dogmoch Soubra, for our readers in the UK, USA and Oz....and of course everywhere... a welcome introduction! Dalia very kindly created this gorgeous recipe for our Christmas blog, but due to our loss of communication we never aired in it time. As much as I would love to keep this divine chocolate heaven to myself....I have turned these Festive Truffles into Valentine Tuffles!

Dalia's Valentine Truffles

Makes about 22 - 24 truffles
• 200g mild dark chocolate (65%)
• 2 tbsp heavy cream
• 1 tsp cream cheese
• 1 tsp instant coffee
• ¼ tsp almond extract
• Toasted pecans, cocoa powder or any topping you prefer (for example toasted coconut, white chocolate, etc.)

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, add the instant coffee and let it cool a little. Add the heavy cream, cream cheese and almond extract, then mix until smooth and thick. Let it cool in the fridge for an hour or until chilled.

Shape the mixture into small balls, and then toss it with your preferred coating in a bowl. Place the truffles in a container and chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve them. Divine!

Dalia has the most amazing food blog which has some rather yummy, easy to cook, never fail recipes...check it out at

TETP would Love to Love...
To keep love in the air, here are our top 5 Valentines gifts
1. Jo Malone Rose cologne
2. Personalised Love Message biscuits
3. Personalised key ring
4. Wish tickets
5. Diptyque candle
oh and of course something sparkly!!

From Parisien perfumeur
From one of our fav online stores

an few office obession
TETP Vintage Valentines from the Hire Parlour...
Vintage in itself conjurs up the most wonderful dreamy thought of romance...maybe its because the bygone eras were full of etiquette, great novel writing and couture elegance. What TETP loves about what we do and the vintage china we hire is that it not only encaptulates all of the above it allows us to slip away from our hectic 21st centuary lives and indulge in the past, in romance, in finery but actually live it through the tea cups we drink from, the cake plates we eat from the the teapots we pour from. We love as do all our clients to try and recreate a scene not from Alice in Wonderland, but from the era of the true romantics.

Sophie Dahl has created the most sumptiously delicious valentine cocktail and it must be supped from equally delicious glasses. TETP has a fine collection of Vintage Champagne Coups for hire from our Hire Parlour...get in touch for more info.

Rose prosecco cocktail

1 bottle prosecco
4-6 tbsp rose syrup (available from specialist suppliers)

Preparation method
1.Pour the prosecco into the serving glasses and then drizzle the rose syrup gently on top, allowing it to trickle down to the bottom.
Competition Time from TETP...
We have just launched our first competition which runs until March 10th, for more info check out our website or  click here.