friday feast: a little downtown abbey valentine

Today serving Mrs Patmore’s Pudding Tea

Mr. Cornelius, a diehard Downton Abbey fan, was beside himself the other day when four members of the Crawley Clawley family accepted his invitation to tea.

He’d been going on and on about how much he’s enjoying Season 5 because it’s mainly about love, romance and secrets. He likes the warm and comfortable relationship between Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, is happy Isobel is hooking up with Lord Merton (nice digs!), is relieved Tom Branson said goodbye to annoying Miss Bunting, loves that handsome Atticus is eyeing up Rose, and is tickled pink about Dowager Countess Violet’s secret past with Russian Prince Thing-a-ma-jig. 🙂

While Lady Mary’s hotel assignation with Lord Gillingham had Cornelius tsk-tsking for a few days (scandalous! loose woman! how risqué!), he gradually came around and revealed his own secret: he’s had a crush on Lady Mary since Season 1 (boy can she rock a pair of opera gloves).

He’s not intimidated in the least by either Tony Gillingham or Charles Blake. They can jostle all they want for Mary’s affections. Cornelius will charm her with his secret weapon.

The well-brushed Clawleys arrived promptly at 4, the epitome of studied grace and good breeding, with nary a complaint about their long journey crossing the pond. It seems a stowaway named Paddington regaled them with funny stories and freely shared his marmalade sandwiches, insisting Robert was a dead ringer for his friend Mr. Brown.

Cornelius was thrilled when Violet presented him with their gift from London: Boomf Magic Mallows via Kate Middleton’s brother James. And look at what was printed on them! Coolio!

Before he had a chance to taste one, Lady Mary whispered in his ear.

“I have a secret! Do you know why I decided Tony probably wasn’t for me? It’s because Charles has a hidden talent. See for yourself!”

*   *   *

“I can’t resist a man with a voice like that!” Lady Mary swooned.

Cornelius was crestfallen. But only for an instant. Time to whip out his secret weapon.

“If I loved you (and I do)!, I would give you a box of these every single day!”

“OH!” Lady Mary turned scarlet, her eyelashes fluttering. “Are these what I think they are?”

Christopher Elbow painted chocolate hearts. I ordered them especially for you from my friends at Chocolate Chocolate.”

Clockwise from top: Fleur de Sel Caramel, Tequila Lime, Macadamia Praline, Lavender Caramel, Raspberry Caramel, Caramel with Vanilla Bean, Passion Fruit Caramel, Red Wine Caramel, Spiced Orange Caramel

“No man or bear has EVER given me these before! You must really love me!”

And with that, Robert, Cora, Violet and Lady Mary sat down to tea, feasting (politely, of course) on Boomf, chocolates, cookies, and conversation hearts. Violet was relieved we didn’t live in a wigwam.

Now that she had Cornelius, Lady Mary didn’t have to choose between Tony and Charles — so she ate them.

Afterwards, Robert and Cornelius played cars,

and Mary and Cornelius played with his miniature tea set.

“By the way,” Mary said, “I have another secret!” Cornelius rolled his eyes.

“I’m going to leave Downton to become a jazz singer!”:

*   *   *

Another reason to love Mary! Cornelius was happy she was moving to America to pursue her dream.

“One moment!” said Cora, who had been uncharacteristically quiet all afternoon. She slowly removed her floppy hat. “I will not be outdone. I, too, have a secret!”

Hoo Boy. Cornelius took another swig of Mrs. Patmore’s Pudding tea to steel himself.

“To heck with Mr. Bricker,” Cora said, “My real name’s Sadie and I’m a Hothead. Let’s rock!”

*   *   *


Well, that was a tip top tea! Hooray for the Clawleys!

We wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day♥.

Hope your weekend is full of chocolates, hearts, cookies, music, marshmallows, happy chatting with loved ones and tea!

What is a weekend?

*   *   *


With all these bear shenanigans going on, it was a little tricky convincing Monsieur Random Integer Generator to come to our aid yet again. But a gentleman through and through, and a dashingly handsome one at that, he would never dream of leaving us in the lurch. We offered him a generous portion of squirrel stew, which he politely refused. He made up for it by devouring 43,000 jelly beans, 538 cherry pies, 78 gallons of ice cream, and 670 pounds of Georgia peanuts. Then he took a wee skinny dip in the Potomac à la John Q. Adams before randomly selecting our winner —

Who is:

*drum drum drum roll*



Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com so we can get your copy of Presidential Misdaventures out to you pronto. 🙂

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and clerihews (Happy President’s Day)!

*   *   *

poetryfriday180The warm and lovely Cathy Mere is hosting the Roundup at Merely Day by Day. Sashay on over and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. 🙂


Bear Hugs and Kisses,

Mr. Cornelius and the Clawleys


Friend is a word of Royal tone, 
Friend is a poem all alone.

~ The Persian Poet, 12th century

*   *   *


♥ When it comes to love and romance, CHOCOLATE is, was, and will forever be the ultimate secret weapon.

Boomf Magic Mallows are super kewl . . . any of your digital images can be used for personalized marshmallows. They’re based in London, but ship worldwide. Fun novelty gift for any occasion.

Chocolate Chocolate is the BEST chocolate shop anywhere. Visit if you’re in the DC area, or order online any of their delectable bon bons, bars, artisanal + European collections, small batch house truffles or other to-die-for goodies (tell them Cornelius sent you). 🙂

*   *   *

wkendcookingiconThis post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Brush your fur, put on your best bib, and come join the fun!


Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.



74 thoughts on “friday feast: a little downtown abbey valentine

  1. A Colin cookie with the Downton Abbey cookies! Maybe he will guest on there one day – that would be awesome! I just discovered Sadie and the Hotheads about a week ago and my kids and I watched some of her videos, amazed that we had never heard of this, being Downton Abbey obsessed! We are dreaming of going to Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, where they have an exhibit of costumes from DA. Sigh. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?!

    Love your Clawley Family!


    1. Hi Jan! Nice to hear from another Downton fan. Have you heard any of the music from the Downton Abbey Christmas CD that was just released last year? Elizabeth McGovern and Julian Ovenden both sing on it, and Jim Carter recites “The Night Before Christmas.”

      It’s kind of wild to see Lady Cora rocking out, isn’t it? 🙂

      Hope you get to the Biltmore Estate to see those costumes! I think the same exhibit was also at Winterthur Museum in Delaware last year. I’d planned to go, but didn’t make it . . .


  2. Oh, MY! How did you ever have time to record all the festivities whilst serving up such a glorious tea, and, I’m sure, and ever so gently guiding the conversation? I’m not at all surprised Lady Mary would choose Mr. Cornelius over those less-cuddly (but dashing nonetheless) beaus. I’m sure the Clawleys are still talking about their afternoon, and I’ll bet Violet stole a slight grin when no one was looking.

    And… all those musical secrets? Well, Papà had better keep that newfangled gramophone, don’t you think?


    1. He should indeed — he’ll want to play Lady Mary’s jazz records on it someday. 🙂

      That Cornelius — he stole Mary’s heart with those chocolate hearts. Maybe I should follow his lead and offer Colin some of those . . .


      1. Those chocolate hearts are dangerous, dangerous. (And I guess it was a radio they need to keep – my comment was pre-coffee this morning – but with all these musical goings-on I think they’ll need both!) ;0)


  3. I have stopped collecting bears years ago but those Clawley bears are irresistible! This post had me laughing, drooling (over the men and the chocolates), and in awe of your ability to dig up all those secrets. Sweet Lady Cora as a Hothead! Who’d a thunk it? I’ve watched the whole season (I cheat with the DVD) and Season 5 has a very sweet ending. Just like this post.


    1. I hadn’t collected any bears for years too — until the Paddington bug bit me again recently, and when I saw these DA bears I couldn’t resist (you can get them at Shop). They’re the same basic bear as Fluffy/Fuzzy Vanderbear by North American Bear Co. I know you were a Muffy V. fan.


    1. So glad you enjoyed reading this post, Margo!! I’m enjoying Season 5 a lot — things are a lot perkier than Season 4, and I like the humor (esp. regarding Moseley, whom I didn’t care for much at first as he was a sad sack – but now I like him).


  4. Jama, for many reasons this post is a heart stealer: chocolates, Downtown Abbey storyline, musical interludes, and high tea. How wonderful! A Valentine’s Day Treasure!


    1. Thanks, Carol! I was sad to learn that Season 6 will probably be the end of the series, as Julian Fellowes will be writing a new series, The Gilded Age. Maybe some of the DA cast will appear in it? *fingers crossed*


  5. What a wonderful Valentine tale you’ve told. Cornelius has to be the poshest bear around. And any goodies from Chocolate Chocolate are yummy but those are great, er, eye candy as well.


  6. Darling, you set a gracious table as always. And those magical mallows are adorable!!!! as are the teddies, of course. Hope you have a fab weekend.


    1. Thank you (love when you call me Darling) :).

      James Middleton has hit upon a gold mine with those Magic Mallows. Some people are really creative with their mallows (some artists have sent in samples of their paintings, which make beautiful boomfs and great promotional items). Enjoy your weekend too!


  7. Truly enjoyed the Valentine novelties and audios. It’s so good to see the Downton characters as they really are but at the same time, “No, they definitely only live in the castle we all know and love!” Happy Valentine’s Day, Jama.


    1. It’s interesting to find out more about some of the cast members. I was very surprised to discover Julian Ovenden could sing — he’s a classically trained opera singer who’s done a lot of musical theatre work.


  8. I have never seen Downton Abbey (not for lack of trying!), but I don’t even need to — the costumes alone are enough to make me salivate! But I must ask, dear Jama, how you stage all this! I mean, the white bear costume is an exact replica! How do you do it? Please spill some secrets!

    Another spectacular smorgasbord of eye candy and other!


    1. Oh you give me too much credit, Renee. The bears come dressed like that — they’re Downton Abbey Bears (sold on the website).

      I know you’d love the series — luckily all Five Seasons are available on DVD, and the current season’s episodes can be viewed on the PBS website too. You have a lot of catching up to do . . . 🙂


  9. Oh my heavens, dear Jama, your tea was a spectacular delight. I hope Cornelius and Mary share many a happy moment in their cottage for two (and give others the chance to tsk-tsk about their assignation!)

    Hope your Valentine’s day is filled with chocolate and hot-teas.


    1. Thanks, Buffy! I’m sure Cornelius is looking forward to giving others something to tsk-tsk about when he’s with Mary.

      BTW, enjoyed your poetry video today at Renee’s :)!


    1. Oh, you know me too well, Matt. Wouldn’t want Mr. Firth to get jealous after all.

      Hope your weekend isn’t TOO terribly cold and snowy.


  10. I absolutely love your post today, Jama! What a wonderful, colorful treat! I hope you and Mr. Cornelius both have a beautiful Valentine’s Day!


  11. How amazing to watch and hear DA characters singing their hearts out! I had no idea. Your post is a visual and auditory delight. Thanks for this terrific valentine, Jama.


  12. I did not think I could love Cornelius more… but there it is, on Valentines eve. I laughed at many places, but my favorite line may be “and so she ate them.” This was even better than chicken videos!


  13. Cute post, Jama! I wish I loved marshmallows, what a neat idea. How could anyone really eat one. I wouldn’t dare. Happy Valentine’s Day!


  14. And now the secret’s out, Cornelius is really the ‘backbone’ of DA! I’ve been so busy that now I know I must leave your post to the evening so I don’t need to hurry through. So glad you shared all the videos-I would never have known about all those hidden talents. Happy Valentine’s Day, Jama-hope the cold is fortified with tea and chocolate!


    1. Cornelius was hoping to get a bit part in Season 6, but I fear Mr. Fellowes is done writing that script, and Season 6 is probably the last of the series. Sigh.

      Hope your Valentine’s Day is marked by tea and chocolate too, Linda. Charles is only happy to serenade you too. 🙂


  15. OMG — HA!!!!! Especially: “Violet was relieved we didn’t live in a wigwam.” Love, love, love this post. You and Cornelius are just too much fun.


  16. Those hearts are gorgeous. And so is Julian Ovenden’s voice!

    What a beautiful Valentine’s tea you and Cornelius provided.


  17. This is the cutest inspiration for a tea party, I am a Downton Abbey crazy! And yes, when I heard Mary singing on the show I looked her up – the talent just does not end! 😀

    Choc Chip Uru


    1. Apparently Michelle Dockery has jammed with Sadie and the Hotheads. Wish there was a video of that on the web! I just read she got engaged. She was introduced to her fiancé by Allen Leech :).

      Good to know you’re also a Downton fan!! Do you have a favorite character? I like Daisy and Mrs. Patmore :).


  18. Oh my goodness, all of those treats! What a lovely Valentine’s tea. (I couldn’t follow most of the Downton gossip as I stopped watching after Season 3 – I don’t acknowledge Cousin Matthew’s death)


  19. So much Downton fun that I almost can’t stand the wait for tonight’s episode! These characters have got me thinking about them all throughout the week…even without their faces on my marshmallows!


  20. I don’t know how you will top this post for cuteness and cleverness, but I’m sure you will manage! Lovely, lovely photos, and so funny! We are Downton fans here (I don’t think my hubby is just humoring me…) We cheated by skipping ahead and watching the rest of the current season on DVD this week, but now we have nothing to look forward to tonight at 9!


    1. Thanks, Laurie — nice to know you’re also Downton fans! Thus far I have resisted the temptation to skip ahead. Each season is pretty short, so I like to stretch it out as much as possible.


  21. LUV attending this tea time created by Mr. C, Jama!

    And so much a fan of DA, especially Dowager Countess Violet. Who rocks senior years, don’t ‘cha think?
    As a multiple-time visitor to Asheville’s Biltmore Estates (the “downstairs/backstairs”, tour, too), I can’t imagine what a coup ‘twould be, to see the DA exhibit. Alas, not on my dance card. But so many other treats are, we are off to a romantic 2015.

    Appreciations for this pink, violet, red, lace, doily & more lucious Valentine’s Day Weekend treat.


  22. “A tip top tea” indeed! You have the best posts, Jama! I’ve never even watched Downton Abbey and I’m now hooked thanks to Cornelius and friends. Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day! My weekend was packed with my husband’s Birthday/Valentine fun and now I catch up…


  23.! I’m way late but so glad I kept this post in my Inbox! I love Downton.

    Cornelius knows how to win a lady’s heart, doesn’t he? Painted chocolate hearts will do it every time. I know my heart was hammering as I headed on over to the website hoping to get some for myself! They were sold out 😦

    The marshmallows are super cute. What a great idea!


    1. Sorry you missed those painted hearts — apparently they do sell out of them quickly every year.

      The Boomf are a lot of fun — a nice surprise for any occasion, and they last 6 months unopened. Plus, free worldwide shipping :).

      Liked by 1 person

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