Meet the Queen of the High Tea Honeys: Samantha Howarth
Greenmantle Estate Blog Piece
20 April 2017
When she is not working as an sales agent, training for triathlons or baking, 28 year old Samantha Howarth is busy hosting High Tea Honey events in the Wellington area. Even with a baby girl on the way, the mum-to-be manages to make time for her passion: organising and enjoying events around afternoon tea.
Where does your love for high teas come from?
My love for high tea started after I started collecting fine china. My grandmother Wendy Bovey has a beautiful collection of china showcased in her cabinets and I never understood why it was never used. When I started collecting, I didn’t want my collection to gather dust so I made a point of using it. The perfect way to use it is to host an afternoon tea party – a high tea!
Full high teas are still a treat – on average I would have high tea once every 2-3 months. They are especially good for celebrating special occasions or when I am travelling I try and experience high tea in different cities such as Melbourne and San Francisco.
What do you love so much about them?
They are such a good way to celebrate special occasions or experience new places. I love that it brings people together – through the high teas and events we have hosted over the years, I have learned so much about what makes other people tick – it’s motivating and inspiring. Whether it’s somebody sharing a story about their latest upcycling project, the job they are really passionate about or their newest grand child – it’s a beautiful thing plugging in and out of each others lives over sharing the experience of high tea.
What is your absolute favourite moment during a high tea?
When a tiered cake stand comes out laden with bite sized treats, the eyes of the women around the table light up (and generally out come the cameras!). The flavours, the colours, just a little bit of everything – it’s such a sensory experience.
Not an easy question, we know. But if you had to pick a favourite sweet and savoury snack, what would it be?
I love well prepared, simple finger sandwiches with salmon, cream cheese and dill. Sweets – I can’t go past a fluffy scone with jam and cream – in that order.
When were the High Tea Honeys established?
I set up the High Tea Honeys when my husband and I bought our home in Lower Hutt nearly 4 years ago. I had started a small collection of fine china and realised I didn’t know many people to have afternoon tea with in the area. So I figured there might be a few other like-minded women and with whom I would be able to get together with to share my love for fine china, tea and food. One night I dreamt up the High Tea Honeys name and it took on a life of its own after that!
You have an impressive 500 members. Who are the women of High Tea Honeys?
We are a group of women with an appreciation for everything ladylike: from high tea to manicures, to handmade crafts and everything in between. We believe tea tastes better from fine china, baking tastes better if it’s made wearing a cute apron and dull tasks are much more enjoyable in a gorgeous space with fresh flowers. We swoon over all things vintage and handmade.
We get together for fun and friendship, to try new things, learn from each other and to celebrate being a little old-fashioned at heart!
What asset does every high tea need in order to be a ‘good high tea’?
Table cloths and silverware are a must. Fine china tea cups, saucers and cake plates. Loose leaf tea, fresh flowers on the table and a good selection of bite sized sweet and savoury treats served on tiered cake stands.
We are very happy that we get to call you a regular of Greenmantle high tea events. What is your favourite thing about our high teas?
High Tea Honeys Catch Up Over a Cuppa
1 November 2016
High Tea Honeys could be your cup of tea
31 October 2016
Dusting off her china tea cups has helped Samantha Howarth gain more than 400 friends.
“I grew up in Tawa and Levin so I wanted to make some friends in the hills,” the Belmont resident said.
She started the High Tea Honeys in July 2013 and the group now has 429 members and has had 166 meet ups.
Making new friends as an adult, after moving to new areas or changing countries like a lot of the members had , took courage, she said.
She had been anxious about how a group of women aged between 20 and 60, meeting at restaurants and places like the zoo and Zealandia around the Wellington region, would get on but there had been lots of laughs and deeply educating conversations.
“We have a laugh at our husbands’ expense and a giggle at life.”
Her husband was very supportive of her tea and china obsession.
“We once drove to Rotorua, there and back in a day, to buy some china. My husband said it was really early on in our relationship and he would probably never do that again,” she laughed.
The software salesperson said she had always been old fashioned at heart and loved china.
“The inspiration came from my grandma who had cabinets full of china but would always make me tea in a mug from the cupboard. I would always ask why she wouldn’t use the china and she would say it was just not the way anymore.”
She had also brought back crafts through “crafternoons”, where groups of 10 to 15 members bring their craft, such as knitting, crochet and paintings, and work on them.
“If they are stuck on something in their knitting there are seasoned knitters that can help them.”
Because she originally catered a lot of the high teas, she now loves baking.
Although now each member brings a plate, she has launched her own baking ingredient delivery service called Bake Joy.
Subscribers receive on a fortnightly or monthly basis a recipe and the quantities of each ingredient needed to make it.
“I have a lot of recipes books that I don’t use much because they call for ingredients that I don’t often use and this service will get around this for people.”
She counteracts all the delightful food by training for her second half ironman this year.
“I spend my Saturdays drinking tea and eating cake and my Sundays on my bike for a couple of hours.”
Celebrating the Finer Things in Life with Friends
Vibrant Hutt Magazine
24 April 2014