An easy menu inspired by English tea and served in a colorful London park setting
“Everything is possible. Even the impossible.” – Mary Poppins
I couldn’t even tell you how many times I watched Mary Poppins growing up. Rather than remaking the classic, Disney continued the story in 2018 with a brand new film starring Emily Blunt (who is indeed practically perfect in the role) and national treasure Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Fun fact: he is one of my “dream dinner party” picks. Lin-Manuel, you always have a seat at The Rose Table!) It’s packed with references to the beloved 1964 film as Mary returns to Jane and Michael Banks, now grown, and helps them through a trying time. The movie is full of balloons, dancing penguins, big musical numbers, and plenty of Mary Poppins magic.
The Rose Table Disney Dinners: Mary Poppins Returns is sponsored by Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, out on Digital March 12 and blu-ray March 19, 2019.
Here’s how I hosted Disney Dinners: Mary Poppins Returns, recipes and all! Off we go. Watch the Mary Poppins Returns episode of The Rose Table:
My inspiration for Disney Dinners: Mary Poppins Returns was the big balloon finale in the park. I worried that having balloons in my dining room would feel like a kid’s birthday party whereas my Disney Dinners are elegant dinner parties for adults. The solution I came up with was a chic balloon arch, which my dad built for me.
I’m so pleased with how it came out. It’s exactly what I envisioned! He watched several YouTube videos and quickly decided against my PVC pipe idea. This is literally balloons attached with a string attached to a base. The balloons form their own arch as he tied them. We secured it to my dining room dorm frame to make it more stable. Isn’t it so fun?
Pro tip: my dad used a X to blow up the balloons.
I happen to have a colorful painting of London bench that quite reminded me of Mary Poppins Returns, so I hung that front and center. I also hung a painting I have of a bicycle, since Lin-Manuel Miranda is so often on his bike in the film.
I hung a black umbrella from my chandelier and a green kite on the wall. Kites were a big deal in the first film and I won’t spoil it for you, but the green kite plays a big role in Mary Poppins Returns so I wanted to pay homage to that in the decor.
“I was flying a kite and it got caught on a nanny!” – Georgie Banks
Mary is predominantly in navy and red, so that was my color scheme for the table, which was one of my simplest tables to date. I used a navy tablecloth with two balloons on either side of a floral centerpiece tied to little tea creamers with roses. (To recreate this, you’ll need balloons filled with helium. Air won’t keep them floating. Have a party store do this for you.) I rarely do a single centerpiece but I wanted something old fashioned since the film is set around the 1930s.
I styled my side table with a print of penguins in a bathtub. Can you believe If found this? The penguins are my favorite part of the original Mary Poppins and I was delighted to see them in Mary Poppins Returns during the most adorable dance number. The fact that there’s also a bathtub in the print was an added bonus, since Mary turns bath time into an underwater adventure. I also styled the table with cherry blossoms, which are featured throughout the film, and burned a cherry blossom spring candle.
I wanted an explosion of color for the centerpiece. A pale blue hydrangea signifies the blue flowers that swirl around the quintet as they magically leap into a painted a bowl. I added yellow and white roses, purple and yellow carnations, green button poms, and purple and green accents. I tucked a few extra white roses in little bud vases and creamers on the table used to anchor the balloons.
“There’s lots of treasures to be found
Underneath the lovely London sky” – Jack
The Place Settings
The place settings were really very simple for Disney Dinners: Mary Poppins Returns: my square white dinner plates, silverware, my casual water glasses for the iced tea, water glasses, a little Mary Poppins Returns mirror gift for my guests to take home, and cherry red napkins.
Mary Poppins wears a red bow tie in both films, so I tied the napkins into makeshift bowties secured with cherry red ribbon. It’s quite easy to do: just fold the napkin in half top to bottom then fold both left and right sides in, slightly overlapping, to form a square. Tuck a 1.5″ wide, 10″ long ribbon underneath your napkin, slide it to the center, and tie the ribbon, tucking the access into the napkin. Flip the bow tie right side up, turn it sideways, and slip the sides toward you, fluffing them up a bit. Its sounds more complicated than it is. It took five minutes to do all six. Aren’t they fun?
My absolute favorite part of the table was the place card holders: tiny street lamps. In Mary Poppins Returns, Lin-Manuel Miranda plays a lamplighter who once worked with Bert and there’s a whole musical number featuring street lamps and his street lighter friends. I don’t usually do place card holders but when you find something this perfect for a theme, you run with it! Plus name cards are a very old fashioned thing, which also fit with the 1930s.
Since this was my first collaboration with Disney, I played straight up Disney music. Enjoy the playlist for yourself:
For my Mary Poppins Disney bounding, I wore a white tie blouse with balloons on it. Can you even? I squealed when I saw it! I paired the blouse with a high-waisted navy skirt with buttons, navy Mary Janes, and a red cardigan. Mary is often seen wearing a coat, but that’s not practical to wear indoors at a party and I wanted my outfit to be practically perfect in every way. I crimped my hair and tied it back in a bun with the most perfect accessory: Mary Poppins hair pins from my friend Emily. Thank you, Em!
My friends got into the Mary Poppins Returns spirit, all opting for fabulous tea looks.
“Today or never. That’s my motto.” – Mary Poppins
I served up a beautiful blueberry mint iced tea. I made one batch, had a taste, and immediately made a second batch because I knew my friends were going to want glass after glass. Garnished with lemon wedges and fresh mint from the garden, I’ll be serving up this gorgeous non-alcoholic drink all summer long. Get the recipe here.
“To cook without a recipe! Can you imagine that?” – Mary Poppins
Tea Sandwich Flight
I’ve always wanted to serve a tea sandwich flight and Disney Dinners: Mary Poppins Returns seemed like the perfect time since (a) tea is a big deal in London and (b) Mary quite literally takes flight throughout the film. See what I did there? I served cucumber sandwiches cut out like umbrellas, shrimp salad sandwiches cut out like balloons, chicken salad sandwich served in mini croissants, and lox with cream cheese cut out like kites. I really felt like I was having lunch at Disneyland! Get the recipe here.
Lemon Lavender Scones
These scones taste like angels baked them and they’re so easy! They’re nothing like the hard, crumbly scones that Americans are used to. These fluffy English scones beg for lemon curd and clotted cream or butter and jam if you’re so inclined. I chose lavender for the scones because Mary is so soothing. It adds a nice touch, especially when paired with lemon. Get the recipe here.
Mini Mary Poppins Hats
Inspired by the mini hats served at the Jolly Holiday in Disneyland when the film came out, this dessert is as tasty as it is adorable. Two layers of dark chocolate cake sandwich a vanilla whipped cream cheese filling, set atop a pizzelle cookie and enrobed in dark chocolate. Need I say more? Get the recipe here.
“There’s nowhere to go but up.” – Everyone
From my table to yours, I hope your week is practically perfect in every way!
Make your own magic,