DIY Afternoon Tea On A Budget

in , , , by Jada, July 10, 2020
My Father-in-law celebrated his 58th birthday during lockdown, and during the strange and unknown times, we didn't think too much ahead of what his birthday gift could be. With many shops closed and idea's low on the ground, I came up with the idea of surprise afternoon tea, DIY and budget style of course! 

DIY afternoon tea set up

First of all, you will need to think about what kind of way you want to set your afternoon tea up. Do you want to do it traditionally with a cake stand, cups & saucers, or do you want to lay it out on plates and bowls? However you choose to do your afternoon tea is just as good, after all, it's the food that really counts!

Afternoon Tea cherry & sultana scones


Although I done this afternoon tea for my Father-in-laws birthday, the treat wasn't just for him, but also for my Mother-in-law too, so I wanted to give them the full afternoon tea set up. I was fortunately able to get everything I needed within a few days and on a budget too!

The cake stand was £5 off Facebook market place, it is beautiful - made by Paperchase I just know I am going to cherish it for a long time! Whilst the cup & saucer sets were £3 each from Home Bargains, the teapot I got from Asda for £5 whilst the small & large heart bowls and plates I already had here at home. I did want to get a milk jug from Asda for £3 too but unfortunately at the time they were sold out and time wasn't on my side! I do now have it for my collection though!

Once you know what kind of set up you are aiming for, it's a good idea to decide your menu choices, what kind of sandwiches/rolls/wraps, cakes/biscuits/sweet treats, jams/creams etc are you planning on making or buying/using. You ideally want to make one trip to the supermarket/shops, or of course if home delivery is your choice of shopping - then get it delivered all in one go.

DIY afternoon tea menu

Once you have your choices noted down, you could also make a keepsake menu on a piece of A4 card which is what I did for my parents-in-law. I choose Canva to make my menu, but you could make one on any kind of design app/website. I then printed the menu onto A4 plain white card, so my parents-in-law could keep it as a keepsake if they wished too - and they did!


Please click on the image below for the full scale/readable menu.


As you can see from the menu, Julie & Ken (my parents-in-law) had a pot of Yorkshire Tea made up with condiments of sugar and milk, and Earl Grey and Yorkshire Tea teabags for any top-ups they fancied. They had three sandwich choices to tuck into (Beef & Tomato, Ham & Cheese, and Cheese & Cucumber), with four savoury sides to pick at (Cocktail Sausages, Pork Pies, Carrot Sticks, Cucumber Sticks).

Afternoon tea sandwiches, cheese & cucumber, beef & tomato, and ham & cheese.

I sadly didn't have the time to make my own scones, so I purchased a packet of shop brought cherry & sultana scones, with six filling options (Clotted Cream, Butter, Marmalade, Seedless Raspberry Jam, Blackcurrant Jam and Strawberry Jam).

Scones, jams and cream, afternoon tea.

The cakes were all homemade by me, and surprisingly I was very good and didn't make any spare! I knew if I would have tasted just one, then none of them would have made it out the kitchen door! I made Lemon Drizzle Slabs - which was lemon flavoured sponge cake drizzled with lemon flavoured icing, Butterfly Cupcakes - consisting of plain Victoria sponge with buttercream filling, and Chocolate Triangles - chocolate sponge, decorated with melted milk chocolate, and crumbled Cadbury Flake. I also dotted some sweet sides of raspberries and strawberries around the scones and cakes.

Butterfly cupcakes, Lemon Drizzle slabs, and chocolate triangle cakes.

Last but not least, I made a Victoria sponge birthday cake, sandwiched with seedless raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream, and decorated/dusted with icing sugar. 

Birthday cake - Victoria sponge sandwiched with vanilla buttercream & raspberry jam.

Both Ken and Julie loved the surprise birthday gift, with Ken commenting on it being the nicest and best surprise he's ever had. The cakes kept them going for days, as I left no spares here (cake in the house is no good, I'd eat them all and lick all the crumbs, who doesn't love cake!?) and they loved their keepsake menu to keep for their memories.

Now all I need to do is make myself an afternoon tea, on a treat day of course!

Until next time,
Jada x
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  1. What a lovely treat for your father in law and mother in law. You can't beat an afternoon tea and it sounds like you did well keeping the costs down. It looks amazing x

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    1. Thank you Kim, it was so lovely to make it all come together! I am seriously considering making one for myself and a few friends for this weekend as I have never actually had an afternoon tea myself! x

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