Monday, February 11, 2013

Downton Abbey Valentine's Day Luncheon + Book Exchange (and it was fabulous)

I have a little group of gals that get together every now and then to swap books. It's fun. No pressure, just bring a book, new or most likely used, wrapped and we swap them. It is so much fun to see and hear about what everyone has been reading, and to walk away with a new (to you) book to jump in to. But I wanted to do something a little bit special this time around with it being so close to Valentine's Day and all. So, I thought, what do all of us ladies LOVE?
Books, yes.
So my friend Jen and I decided to have a "Downton Abbey Valentine's Luncheon and Book Swap".
And boy, was it ever fun!

First, find inspiration:
Valentine's and Downton were just the perfect excuse to be ultra girly and feminine in decorations and menu. I found these pictures on Pinterest and sort of ran with this feeling. I set up a Pinterest Board for my Downton Party. Check out my board and follow me on Pinterest!

I made a banner that said "LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART"...I thought it was the PERFECT saying for Valentines and Downton.....remember when Shirley McClain sang it to Violet back at the beginning of this Season?
How I made my "Let me call you sweetheart" banner.
Shanty 2 Chic's free downloadable alphabet banners

The Menu:
So many of our guests offered to bring something. Jen and I came up with a master menu and then asked/assigned  people a specific dish to bring so that we could make the food identification cards ahead of time, and also, so that we didn't have any duplicates. This may seem strange to have guests bring things, but it worked out beautifully. It was so much fun to see what some of the gals made and it came together perfectly.
-Sir Anthony Strallan's Chickened Out Puffs (Pastry Puffs stuffed with chicken salad)
-Mary's Cool as a Cucumber Sandwiches
-Sybil's Current Curried Chicken on Crackers
-Edith's Egg on her face Egg Salad Sandwiches
-Cora's All American Turkey on Lion House Rolls
-Thomas' fishy Salmon and Dill finger pointing sandwiches
-Lavinia's Lucious Lemon Bars
-Branson's Irish Shortbread
-Robert's Short of bread Shortbread
-Edith's Left over wedding cake (I only made a normal 8" round, 2 layer, orange and almond cake)
-Dowager Duchess Tart but Smart Scones
-Mr. Pamuk's Turkish Delight Macaroons
-Daisy's Raspberry Sugar Cookies
-Crawley House Crudite
-Blushing Marys...(because it was a luncheon we offered a pretty pink Punch)

The Fun:
Besides getting together to chit chat and eating all of this scrumptious food on some of my Grandmother's Spode, we also exchanged books and had door prizes...
they were:
-A lovely bar of soap, from O'Brien
-a bag of tulip bulbs, as the grand prize for winning the Downton Village Flower Show
-a box of notecards (with the label "Always Anna" if you can believe it!), from Bates
- a beautiful Downtonish Black Beaded Necklace, willed to the winner from some distant relative.

The Result:
I didn't take enough was so much fun that I sort of forgot to and snapped a few while things were in full swing.
Everything was delicious and lovely!

I used my Grandmother's Spode Tea Pot as a vase.

I didn't just want to put candies in my Apothocary jars.
I loved the look of a Terrarium and just sort of went with it. On the left, I just have moss, dirt and the hyacinth. The center has rocks, moss a tiny bit of water and the rose standing up in the rocks.  The right is just water and a rose. Simple. Perfect.

I put another hyacinth in a vase in my entry. 

My dress for the occasion. I had it in my closet and it was the perfect thing for this party!

Feather Fascinator, anyone?
Downton Abbey Instagram! haha
It would have been so nice of them to have joined us!

Hope that this inspires you to have a Downton Tea or Luncheon...or a book swap...or something where you actually use all that china that you have and get to hang out with your friends!


  1. Looks like so much fun...your parties have to be the very best, Amy! <3

    1. Awww, thank you...just try to seize the day and make it special! Can't say that I'll have the opportunity to host another Downton Valentine's Book Swap any time soon... had to go for it!! ;) thanks for the comment and for being such a huge part of why I share all of my follies and ideas. XXXOOO.

  2. That was seriously the best party, Amy and Jen! So creative, delicious, and BEAUTIFUL! That dress looked just amazing on you. You are looking so fine these days! Can I please be you?

    1. Thank you, Sam. I was so good, I only ate one or maybe two things that weren't on my diet .....but even then, I WAS SHOCKED at how sweet things were and how I could taste the butter. It was a heavenly couple of bites, but it wasn't as nice as being able to wear a fun, slim dress to the occasion. I'm so jealous of this Downton time period...despite the woman's sufferage, and class system, no appliances...I still think I would have loved wearing dresses everyday...although, it may have been a maid's uniform and not a fancy shmancy party dress that I'd have been wearing...I could go on...anyway, thanks for coming to the party and thanks for commenting on this post...I think you're in one of the pics, btw!

  3. What a fabulous idea! I'm such a big Downton fan too, and love this idea! All the goodies look great!

  4. Superb post from Valentine Luncheon. From decorations to food everything is heart throbbing. I am a diehard fan of lunch parties and would be organizing one soon for my dad’s birthday bash. It will be a vintage themed lunch party at one of best venues in Los Angeles.