Trina Milner is a talented cake-maker and a natural-born hostess.
She loves to fill her home with the happy laughter of family and friends and has a gift for making everyone feel welcome. If you’re lucky enough to be her guest, you’ll always find delicious food, beautiful decor and warm, easy conversation.
Trina recently turned her passion for cake-making and entertaining into a beautiful morning tea party to raise money for refugees. We chatted with Trina about her fundraiser and asked for her expert party planning tips. We also got a peek at her dreamy menu. Enjoy! (Special thanks to Shannon Ashton Photography for these gorgeous photos.)
Hi Trina! Tell us about yourself.
I’m a mum to three wonderful children and spend my days (and nights) caring for them, feeding them and taking them where they need to go. I’m originally from New Zealand, but have lived in London for over 12 years. I love living in London. We are spoilt for choice of things to do. I also love to travel. Last summer we spent four weeks in the south of France, which was a dream. I collect fridge magnets from every country we have been, so I have a daily reminder of all the beautiful places I have seen.
Tell us about your Morning Tea. How did you come up with the idea?
When I heard about Go Jane Give, I was so inspired by the idea that I could contribute to big problems in the world that make me feel sad and hopeless. It was empowering to do something positive.
When we have visitors in town or when we celebrate a special occasion, we love to go to afternoon tea at a posh London hotel. There is really nothing quite like it! I used these afternoon tea experiences as inspiration in creating the menu and atmosphere for my morning tea.
Tell us about your talent for baking and hosting beautiful parties? Have you always loved entertaining?
I am the eldest of five children, so my job from a young age was to help my mum prepare all the food. She is the queen of event planning and entertaining. She taught me how to take pride in the presentation of everything. I am part of a very large extended family and so big gatherings with lots of food, love and laughter formed a big chunk of my childhood. Being in the kitchen with my mum, nan and aunties are some of my most treasured memories.
You raised $850 for Lifting Hands International. Tell us about why you chose to fundraise for this nonprofit.
The photographs and stories in the media about the Syrian refugees really stayed with me, especially when it involved children. Imagining myself and my children in that experience was a horrific thought. Your worst nightmare as a parent is not being able to protect and care for your children.
Lifting Hands International is so inspiring. The founder, Hayley Smith, is on the ground, helping real people with their immediate needs. She spends time in the refugee camps to hear first-hand accounts and understand how LHI can best help them. She also works with refugee families who have recently moved to the USA. She buys families groceries, finds them furniture, coordinates local drop-offs. It is so amazing to know that I have had a small part in helping these families.
What was the most rewarding part of the experience? What was the most challenging?
The most rewarding parts were: 1. Of course raising money for people who really need it. 2. Looking around and seeing my house and garden filled with lovely women smiling, talking, laughing and eating all the food that I had prepared. It was a very pretty picture!
The most challenging part for me was posting my fundraiser on Facebook. I was really nervous about sharing it in that space, but I am glad that I did because everyone was so supportive. I had people donating from overseas, even though they could not come!
What are you tops tips for organizing a gathering?
Make a plan. Write a list for everything, and then check each item off when it is done. My favourite part of party preparation is creating the atmosphere and setting up the space. Arranging flowers, decorations, choosing platters and crockery—I try to do it the night before an event so I can take my time and really enjoy it!
What is your favorite thing to bake?
Cake batter! There is something so satisfying about mixing sugar, butter, eggs and flour, adding a few more ingredients and watching it all come together in the perfect glossy, thick consistency—you know it will be delicious!
Tell us about your menu and what you served at the tea party? What were your favorite dishes?
My personal favorite was the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tartlets! The recipe is from the book Patisserie At Home by Will Torrent. Also the strawberry marshmallows as they taste so different from the shop-bought ones. They’re so light they melt in your mouth!
We love your beautiful (and delicious) tea party, Trina! Ready to turn your talents into a fundraiser for a great cause? Check out Trina’s impressive menu below.
Morning Tea by Trina
Chicken Salad in a Brioche Bun
Cheddar Cheese & Chutney on Wholemeal Bread
Ham & Mayonnaise on White Bread
Mini Herb Quiche
Scones & Pastries
Freshly Baked Scones with Homemade Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream
Chocolate & Salted Caramel Tartlet
Fresh Berry Tartlet
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing
Lemon Drizzle Loaf
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache & White Chocolate Buttercream Icing
Victoria Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream
Homemade Strawberry Marshmallows
Chocolate Salami with Pistachios & Apricots
Super Berry, Peppermint Leaves, Chamomile, Vanilla & Manuka Honey, Rose Lemonade, Green Tea with Grapefruit & Lime, Earl Grey