Afternoon tea. That’s a very British institution.

Apparently introduced to England by the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840 it involves Tea served in delicate china, cakes, maybe scones with cream and jam and tiny sandwiches arranged on stacked plates. It’s all very important to get right, or it’s just not afternoon tea.

Last year I had a lovely afternoon tea at the Met Bar with the Lulu Guinness team and several bloggers, which, being aimed at diet concious fashionistas, came with breadless sandwiches. If you want the full on traditional experience, of course, then afternoon tea at the Ritz is the ultimate institution, though at £50 it’s a little pricy for every day! If you fancy going out for the full afternoon tea experience then local hotels and coffee shops will often offer a more affordable alternative. In Norwich try the Assembly House or Caistor Hall, priced at a more affordable £9.95.

The alternative, and possibly cheaper still, is to DIY it and have afternoon tea in the comfort of your own home, or pack it all up and take it out for a picnic.

Once you’ve made your finger sandwiches, tiny tiny cakes and scones with cream and jam, next you need to make sure you get the accessories right. My china and cake stands have been sourced from boot fairs and charity shops over many months. If you don’t have that kind of time, or would rather someone else did the messy job for you and cleaned it all up then I am super impressed with my new sponsor Bedcrumbs offerings in the afternoon tea arena.

Tea for 2 is just £25, and you get to keep the cups!

It comes with napkins, plates, cups and saucers and a cupcake recipe to make your own cupcakes. The vintage china is sourced individually, meaning each set is unique.

Alternatively luxury tea for 2 is £85 (erk!) however, it does come with lovely silk dupion cushions to take on your picnic and a cake stand to put your creations on once you’ve followed the recipe provided.

Afternoon tea is the ultimate treat. A chance to step out of the modern worlds rush and relax for a few hours, and as such I think it’s a beautiful gift to give someone.

Try the BBC Good Food website for some delicious recipes to try including these divine looking raspberry and almond bites. Mmm.