A Vintage Weekend & Afternoon Tea

There is nothing quite more elegant than going for afternoon tea. It makes me think of bygone eras of refinement and simplicity. A time when no matter how busy the day, or how upside down the household, time was made to take a moment and enjoy a spot of tea. The tradition of afternoon tea however, is so much more than a cup of tea. I learned this recently by attending an afternoon tea in historic Sarasota, Florida at one of the city’s oldest estates.

As a very special treat when I was little, my parents would take the family for tea and scones at a quaint little tea room in our home town. As I grew up, that tea room continued to be one of my favorite spots. We would go regularly and I remember when I was first able to treat my family to tea, I felt so grown up. What I cherish the most about those times was that the ritual of drinking tea had a way of taking you back in time.

The Seagate Mansion was built in the late 1920s, and was designed as a winter home for its owners. As we approached the mansion on the day of our afternoon tea, my family and I felt transported. One of our first observations of the place was the circle driveway. We remarked that this would have been where horse carriages or even the city’s first automobiles would have gone through for special occasions and parties.

After parking our own horse and carriage, we were shocked by the grandeur of the place. A two-story home, which is less common in Florida’s more modern architecture, I gazed up to the second story and admired the beautifully crafted windows. The main floor was spectacular with stone floors and stenciled ceiling rafters.

When escorted to our table, we admired our tea cups and plates, each with different patterns, all neatly placed atop a crisp linen table cloth. It was time for our first cup of tea. That first sip was wonderful, piping hot and steeped just the right amount of time. My fellow tea drinkers and I all looked at each other in enjoyment and joked about the proper way to hold the tea cup and saucer. Two, three, four cups of tea later, I found myself eyeing the dessert tray, debating with myself whether I should go for another macaroon or scone. The scone won, complete with clotted cream and strawberry jam. After enjoying a myriad of tea, finger sandwiches and dessert, we were able to tour the rest of the house and the beautiful grounds of the estate.

We ended our walkabout at the edge of the estate gazing out at the ocean, but remembering to look back at the mansion to admire it from a distance. While feeling completely content, I also felt lost in time. As I looked at the space around me, I couldn’t help but imagine the estate in its prime and how many garden parties or afternoon teas had been hosted on these grounds. I also was in the present, enjoying the company of family and taking time to breathe in the warm ocean air. But most of all, I couldn’t help but think back to that tea room from my home town, my family’s tradition of going for afternoon tea, and how decades later, there we were – renewing our tradition.


Favorite Makeup Looks in Film: 1960s – Present


I have a very fond memory of my Mum recounting all her favorite films to my cousins and I many years ago. We were in our teens at the time, and probably argued that Titanic was the best film we had ever seen. We listened attentively however, when my Mum went through her list of classic favorites. Films that, back then, we had never heard of. Some of her favorites included Casablanca, The Philadelphia Story, and The Great Escape. Films she urged us all to see at some point in our lives. A couple of years ago, one of my cousins bought us all tickets to see To Kill a Mockingbird, which was re-released to the big screen. It was a memorable experience for us all to be there together, reciting the famous lines of Atticus Finch, one of my Mum’s favorite characters on film.

As the 2018 Oscars approach, I realize how lucky I am to have had exposure to the classic films of Hollywood, all thanks to my Mum’s influence. Some of her suggestions, such as The Philadelphia Story, which I have previously blogged about, have become some of my favorite films of all time. They are right up there with Titanic! For this week’s blog, I decided to share some of my favorite makeup looks in film through the decades, including re-created looks for each character.

  1. Mary Poppins (1964)

“As I expected. Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.”
Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins

When I was a kid, Mary Poppins was to me, the epitome of perfection. Back then, I could recite the film line for line. I hoped that I too would be able to dance on the rooftops, or with a simple snap of my fingers, be able to clean my entire room. These things never happened of course, but there was magic to the possibility that they might, one day. Re-watching the film today as an adult, I realize that it is in fact Julie Andrews who makes that magic. Bringing not only her incredible vocals to the role, she brought this fictional character to life with equal parts modesty and cheekiness. While the makeup for this look is supposed to depict early twentieth century London, there is so much early 1960s style to the look as evidenced by the heavy eyeliner and shape of the coral lipstick.

2. Cabaret (1972)

“I’m going to be a great film star! That is, if booze and sex don’t get me first!”
Sally Bowles, Cabaret

I first saw this film when I was in my early twenties. What I expected was a singsongy musical, but it was just the opposite. Set in 1930s Berlin, the tension builds so subtly as the movie progresses and you can’t help but shudder at Sally Bowles’ every attempt to ignore it. She is an eternal optimist to the very end, but her eyes give her away. The makeup of this look is everything you would expect for the era, complete with droopy eyes and ultra thin brows. It is Liza Minnelli’s incredible performance however, that brings out her character’s vulnerability. Underneath the layered mascara and eye shadow, you can feel her fear, if only but for a moment.

3. Moonstruck (1987)

 “Ma, I love him awful.”
Loretta Castorini, Moonstruck

Known for the famous line “snap out of it!”, Loretta Castorini, played by Cher, is a practical woman, but old before her time. A young widow, she agrees to remarry, determined that she will get things right in her second marriage. She has everything planned, except for one detail that she has overlooked: she is not in love with her fiancé. Only by meeting her fiancé’s brother, does she begin her journey of love and all the excitement and magic it brings. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when she goes to get her hair and makeup done for her date at the opera. You can feel the anticipation and butterflies rush through her despite her continued battle between realism and spontaneity. The makeup is highly contoured with a dramatic eye and dark lipstick, not her usual, practical look. But, accompanied with a new dress and pair of heels to skip down the streets with, the look is magical!

4. Shakespeare in Love (1998)

“I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all.”
Viola De Lesseps, Shakespeare in Love

A courtier of the royal court, Viola will have more to her life than duty. Infatuated with the theatre, Viola disguises herself as a man to audition for a new play by Will Shakespeare. The natural but warm, peachy toned makeup of Viola, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, beautifully captures the spirit of the character. Viola is passionate, true to her dreams, but also to herself, no matter where life takes her. She has an open heart through and through and while Will and she are forced to part ways at the end of the film, you are left wondering where her journey will lead to next. In re-creating this look, I used cream blush and eye shadow to really work the makeup into the skin in hopes to achieve the natural makeup look of the film.

5. Black Swan (2010)

“It was perfect.”
Nina Sayers, Black Swan

Nina, played by Natalie Portman, is a talented but troubled ballerina, and has been cast as the swan queen for the new production of Swan Lake. The character is so hesitant to feel confident, let alone worthy of her success that she finds herself beginning to feel that the characters she has been cast to play are taking over. Identifying more so with the perfectly angelic white swan, she fears that the seductive and evil black swan, reflects more her true self. As the opening night draws closer, she begins to realize that only through accepting both swans, can she finally achieve perfection. A character that you empathize with, but also fear, is beautifully depicted in the Black Swan makeup.

Re-creating the makeup looks of iconic characters, played by incredibly talented actresses, was a fun and challenging experience. Each week, I re-watched one of the films listed above and took notes on the makeup, trying to re-create the looks with my own makeup supplies. If you would be interested in a step-by-step tutorial on how I re-created each look, please let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by Fanciful Impressions!