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INTRODUCING LIL'S PARLOUR – Mobile vintage tea room that combines a love of food with love & respect for history

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Lil's Parlour: A travelling charabanc of bostin' baking and blinding customer service with warm hospitality tailored to meet the individual expectations of all our customers. Find out more about Lil's Parlour combination of a love of food and a love of history.

What is your most popular product/service?

Our most popular product is our salted caramel cake, based on an eggless war time chocolate cake recipe and brought up to date with a salted caramel twist. Our most popular service is our mobile vintage tea room that we can pop up at large vintage fairs, equally as popular are our smaller bespoke events at reenactment events where we tailor our tea room and cakes to a specific war time period, mostly WW1 and WW2 but this summer we are taking part in the battle of Waterloo! As well of this I also supply cakes to local independent coffee shops, I love this as I get so much amazing feedback about our cakes and it's spreading my recipes to the "masses" without them even knowing they are eating a delicious cake based on a ration recipe or something I have brought back to life that was scribbled in the back of a journal from the 1920s!

What inspired you to launch this as your business?

Lil's Parlour is a combination of a love of food and a love of history, inspired by my Nans,Lil & Audrey two strong business women of their generation who ran their own food businesses in inner city Birmingham. Audrey "nanny chip" had a chip shop with a massive gas range and I remember sitting on the counter (before the days of mad health and safety) eating a saveloy with a can of cherry pop. Nanny Evans (Lil) had a Grocery shop, they made their own ices and stocked everything from a needle and thread to a joint of meat. Social History has always been my obsession and I completed a degree in Social History specialising in food history. I went into teaching but the need to work for myself and do something I love never went away. I applied for the Great British Bake Off and was chosen to be a stand by in the competition out of 15,000 people. I did this for 2 years running alongside teaching and in this time spent hours and hours honing my baking skills and picking apart journals and recipe books. I kept being told I had a real knack for flavour combining and reinvention so I took the plunge and started Lil's Parlour. I love meeting people and networking, and lets me honest I am a bit of a feeder so the pop up tea room just seemed like the natural progression. Local cafes soon started asking for my cakes and the business has grown organically from no start up funds or investment just word of mouth and a lot of hard work. I wouldn't change it for the world!

What drew you to "vintage"?

I don't think I was really drawn to vintage, it's just who I have always been. Even as a small child I had my own distinct sense of style and used to love wearing my Nan or Moms old clothes. I have always loved "old things" and have always styled my home with lots of vintage pieces around me. I have read and read and read accounts of "the olden days" for as long as I can remember and won a Blue Peter Competition when I was 12 writing about what it was like to be an evacuee. Lil's Parlour is really just an extension of who I am and I feel very lucky it fitted into the vintage market very well. By taking part in the vintage scene it allows me to be who I am without any feeling of pretense or like I am standing out in a crowd. It feels like a family.

If you could supply any individual, business or event with your product/services who or which would it be?

I would love to provide an afternoon tea for The British Legion and ex service men and women. I have "popped up" my tea room at The Staffordshire Regiment Museum and I love speaking to the veterans and hearing their stories. They really appreciate the accuracy of what I provide and I love to hear them say "Ohh that's as good as my Moms." I would love to give them something back.

How would you like to see your business grow & the Vintage Industry develop over the coming year(s)?

I would love Lil's Parlour to have its own premises eventually. My dream is to run a tea room based on a "Lyons Corner House" complete with Nippies and a daily menu based on different eras. Until then I hope to meet more and more vintage lovers at events up and down the country. In regards to the Vintage Industry I would love to see growth in regards to more people really getting involved in the social history as well as enjoying the "look" of the periods they enjoy.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I am really excited to be part of the National Vintage Awards. Last year I was serving tea and cakes at the high tea so this year I cannot wait to put on my best frock and enjoy the evening without my trusty sanitizer and Marigolds hanging off my belt :)

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Twitter: @lilsparlourbham

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