My old Beatrix Potter tea set is waiting patiently for my daughter to be old enough to use it. I keep a tab that says the weather in London on my iphone – even though I have not been there in years and probably won’t be for at least another decade. I have a teddy bear that I lugged with me to Paris two out of the three times I’ve been there.
These facts swirl together to create the person who happily jumped at the opportunity to attend a book signing tea party at San Francisco’s Crown and Crumpet – a whimsical British style tea shop. What a fun way to celebrate the lovely romp of a children’s book Kiki & Coco in Paris. I seriously think more events in my life should involve tea parties…. I’ll probably get my wish and then some when Ladypants is a bit older.
I’m still getting the hang of mommy math (factoring in naps and unexpected disasters in diapering) and I am chronically tardy to most events (my wedding included… but I can totally blame the weather on that one) so I planned to head up to San Francisco a good four hours before the tea party was scheduled – even though it really only takes about an hour to get there during non-traffic times of the day. I love an opportunity for Ladypants to don her tutu and I also admit that I was excited to get a little gussied up (meaning lipstick instead of chapstick and making sure I didn’t have oatmeal plastered on my clothes). My master plan had involved a shower, but when gym daycare went awry (a tragic tale involving tears all around) I was able to instead swing by the high school where I used to work to have my less than clean hair braided by my multi-talented fellow teacher buddy.
Aside from the daycare mishap, we arrived in the city painlessly and found parking under Ghirardelli Square. It was a beautiful day – we didn’t even need our jackets. Unfortunately we spent the first part of our stay sequestered in the parking garage fumbling about in the dark with diaper changes, nursing, and generally trying to get our act together. We found ourselves eventually in Ghirardelli Square where Ladypants was in heaven: there were pigeons to chase, moss-covered bricks to investigate, live music to groove to, and a fountain to try to jump in. The square was not crowded by any means so it was an ideal place for my energetic toddler. I appreciated the fact that it was closed off from traffic – all I had to worry about was stairs and the fountain.
I decided I needed a drink and some food. We were going to go to the diner which looked pretty kid friendly – but apparently I am a food snob and decided the artisan locally produced charcuterie at a wine bar was a better idea. This actually was an inspired decision because we had the patio of Cellar 360 to ourselves as we feasted on spaghetti and meatballs (and a glass of wine for me). Even though it wasn’t set up for kids they were incredibly accommodating – the server kindly brought me an endless supply of napkins when it was apparent that I really should have packed a bib into the diaper bag.
After the great meatball adventure of 2011 we were ready for our tea party! The Crown and Crumpet is a top notch place – this would be a cool venue for either a grown-up or a kid outing. They had it decked out to be a little girl paradise – there was a fairy face-painter, tasty tea sandwiches and goodies, plus a big cake with the Eifell tower on top.
We received a copy of Kiki and Coco in Paris at the door – a big beautiful volume with luscious photographs to tell the story of a little girl who loses, and is reunited with, her precious doll in Paris. This book is a collaboration between three women: author Nina Gruener, photagrapher Stephanie Rausser, and doll-maker Jess Brown. These women are talented and enjoy their trades; the result is this lovely work of art. I had the pleasure of chatting with the three briefly while they signed my copy. It was clear they had a great time creating the book and they were also incredibly gracious when my child started launching her toys through the air in their direction.
Go HERE to see the most lovely little slideshow by Stephanie Rausser for Kiki and Coco in Paris.
The witching hour arrived before the book-reading so we had to depart early. After a few more moments to admire the nursing mermaid fountain we headed home.
I am excited to bring Ladypants to the Crown and Crumpet when she is older and read her Kiki and Coco as we sip tea in front of the fire. Perhaps we shall bring some doll friends to partake in the festivities as well.