This morning, I drove through the snow and the icy roads (it wasn’t quite the Antarctic ; ) and headed down to the BBC Radio Cambridge studio for a chat with Mark Rumble on his “Music of My Life” Sunday morning show.
It’s like a shorter version of “Desert Island Discs” where he has local business owners on air to chat about their passions and their fave songs, what’s not to love?!…
I haven’t yet met the lovely Mark, although we have spoken, well over a year ago when I hosted a live Radio Tea Party at the Cambridge Cookery School, with a visit from the charismatic Glen Jones as our guest of honour.
Mark remembered this and mentioned in on my arrival, good memory indeed!
Mark was lovely and had impressed me massively on my way in, by discussing his recent weight loss of half a stone, very impressive. It also made me feel extremely guilty for bringing him a freshly baked fruit scone with jam as a little treat… ooops!
We talked about how I started “The Secluded Tea Party” as a pop-up tea room in and around Cambridge and the Cambridgeshire countryside after visiting my first pop-up tea party in London 3 years ago. The mister and I had enjoyed it, but had come away a little peckish, the girls were skinny (gorgeous figures for a reason ; ) and we decided that I could do it bigger and better on the cake front and the idea evolved from there…
I used to work in corporate events & conferencing for over 8 years and they were very stiff events, no creativity required, so I was itching to do something a little more colourful.
I started by getting all my friends together in local coffee shops, as a free “Cupcake Club” where we would make cupcakes and nibble on each others treats.
My passion for baking grew from there, falling out of love with cupcakes along the way, although a small regret may have been the Cupcake tattoo I got on my foot throughout that part of my journey haha… Check out the top of my left foot next time I flash my feet ; )
The reason I started being a hostess called “Miss Sue Flay” was mainly because 3 years ago there were a only a handful of pop up events going on around the country and the insurance or food safety rules were a little hazy, unlike the huge amount of knowledge & support there is out there nowadays…. I can help cake businesses and pop ups myself, just drop me a lone should you need my services!
I didn’t want people knowing my real name at this time and the alias just stuck…
It was also for my personal safety, underground supperclubs were quite unknown and I didn’t want my guests to know who I was or where I lived. People nowadays want to meet the elusive “Miss Sue Flay” and I love playing as my alter ego, so it works perfectly both ways.
Mark loved my three song choices…
My first song choice was
Otis Redding, “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay”
I get nervous, I am a shy person, I wouldn’t have said boo to a goose 3 years ago, I was a very unconfident girl and my last 3 years worth of experiences have really helped my confidence… I get ready to this song (putting on my lips and flicks in a 50’s style ; )
helping me to relax with a chilled out playlist before I host an event and it’s always in the background at my afternoon tea events on my soundtrack, so listen out next time you visit one of my events ; )
I have now started teaching my baking skills, proudly showing people in their own homes or venues how to bake afternoon tea treats and helping them to get passionate about afternoon tea. With this, they get my support as well as a tailored recipe book, depending on their favourite tastes and their specific requirements, it’s very flexible indeed and you can read more about these here.
We discussed modern manners and how I got into talking about Afternoon Tea and the etiquette alongside it, having seen the fabulous William Hanson on the TV around 18 months ago, I loved what he was doing and I got in touch with him to see if he might be interested in co-hosting an event with me, I didn’t expect such a bond to appear, we plotted a lot more besides and now have a few more ideas in the pipeline which is amazing.
We hosted our very first etiquette of afternoon tea event at the Hotel Du Vin in Cambridge in September 2012, with another one returning this April 6th (Book Your tickets now! ; )
as well as creating a 5 course dinner event titled “Dine Like Downton” in March 2013.
My second song choice was David Bowie, “Rebel Rebel”
This was a tricky choice for me, as I have a serious infatuation with Mr Bowie.
He is my first love and I fell for him after seeing “Labyrinth” one of my most favourite
films, of which I can pretty much quote word for word!
Not only my traditional Afternoon Tea events, I like to rebel, going against the grain and hosting darker, scarier and gory events such as a Zombie Tea Party and a scary Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for my birthday in 2012.
This song is actually my ring tone and alarm clock every morning, which drives my partner mad as I manage to sleep through it more often than not ; )
Mark asked me where everything is heading now with my business and I discussed our “Dine Like Downton” event as part of the Eat:Cambridge food festival with William and we are actually looking to tour this event in a similar format, so watch this space… so excited!
This was a very successful event and I have found a new passion in entertaining guests and allowing them to have fun as they learn the lost art of etiquette and manners… its VERY tongue in cheek, I certainly don’t take it too seriously and I think it’s what my guests love about the events.
I will also be taking the afternoon etiquette into a central Cambridge at an affordable cost for private events, for people wanting a new experience with friends & family, hen parties, baby showers or *just because* they fancy afternoon tea in a fun and relaxed environment.
I can’t talk too much about this as it’s being planned at the moment, but it’s a fabulous location, new to me and to my guests and there will be a lot of freedom for you to book me and my new venue up for your own afternoon tea with a difference!
Simply email me at: email@example.com to book a private etiquette
& afternoon tea workshop with your friends or colleagues, it’s going to be
up and running very shortly!
Lunch with Gregg Wallace will also be coming up for me, as a reward through my weight loss success, of which I am equally nervous and excited about.
I get the Masterchef judge all to myself for an afternoon of good food in his restaurant and the chance to talk about our favourite subject as we munch. Watch this space for a blog post about this, I just hope he doesn’t mind me taking the odd photo for it ; )
I’ve had so much fun hosting my “Secluded Tea Parties” and the BBC have been so supportive – Both with Radio Cambridgeshire and my appearance on BBC 2’s “Escape to the Country” of which I talked about the history of cake and afternoon tea, what a treat that was!
You can see me (3 stone heavier!- weird looking back!)
in a video clip here!
I still also plan to keep blogging about my finds and passions, as well as to continue to write my monthly column for the Cambridge Evening News/Cambridgeshire Journal Magazine or which I love to do and can’t thank Alice Ryan enough for giving me the chance to do this, I have a new found love for writing due to this column.
And as a result, “The Secluded Blogfest” is returning to Cambridgeshire
on Saturday 11th May 2013,
an event to inspire bloggers & writers with guest speakers who inspire me,
including my lovely friend, Lynn Hill of The Clandestine Cake Club, Tom & Line of Liquid Photo & ReeRee Rockette of Rockalily, who spoke at my last Blogfest in 2011.
I also announced today my fourth speaker for this event, local blogger & jewellery maker, Deepa Mistry aka Lazy Giraffe who will be talking at this inspirational event about her own experiences as a blogger!
Not forgetting the fabulous food that will be at this event to feed our guests, it’s an event not to be missed! – BOOK HERE!
Mark finished my interview asking me what my fave type of tea is.
My favourite tea is a Darjeeling, although a builders tea is always good.
I’m not fussy, but people are scared to make me a brew as they think I’m going to be sniffy about it… I’m really not, I take it as it comes, so long as it’s hot, I don’t mind!
I have a friend who likes to make me a cuppa in a crudely worded mug, yes, you know who you are mister…!
My third song choice was Louis Armstrong, “We have all the time in the world”
I first heard this song on a Guinness TV Ad in 1994 – on my parents television with those really clunky buttons…I remember hearing this song, seeing the bubbles in the glass, being mesmerised by the song. It’s stuck with me and it’s a firm favourite on my event playlists.
The songs I did choose originally were varied, to say the least, with 7 choices for them to pick three tracks from on request, so the ones that didn’t make the cut, I will also share with you here now and they were as follows:
We discussed all my upcoming events… of which you can always find more about through
Or you can always book tickets at:
If you missed the show today, you can hear it here for another few days:
…..15 minutes into the show ; )
And a huge thank you to Mark for having me on his show today,
what an honour!
Miss Sue Flay
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