Tea by the Pool

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Is this one of Rome’s ancient columns, facing onto a famed square ?
No, it is a “garden ornament” on a private estate in Newport, at the end of a large, luscious reflecting pool. The setting, recently, for a dear friend’s intimate afternoon tea at her romantic carriage house. Being British and appreciating all the finest details and etiquette of this English tradition,  no details were overlooked.


Of course, there was a glorious assortment of homemade tea sandwiches, various flavors of scones, heavily clotted cream, sweets and savouries, with two selections of brewed tea…all elegantly presented on heirloom silver.


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English trifle was the surprise final dessert, but her gracious party favor had us all feeling very special—sharing beauty secrets of the British Royal family. The label on the hand-mixed jar of “Beenigma Cream” (or bee venom, which is becoming the most-buzzed about anti-aging ingredient) related that “Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, on the advice of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who is a faithful user, now applies the product and could be seen glowing during her wedding as a result of using the bee venom mask.”

I remember when I was a young girl that my mother and her coterie were big believers in Royal Jelly, made from the queen bee. Those bees must know something we don’t…

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".