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~~KEW GARDENS REDOUTE SUGAR BOWL AND CREAMER SET~~ http://www.english-table.com/Kew-Gardens/Kew-Gardens-Redoute "Belgian born Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) achieved success as the official court artist of Queen Marie Antoinette. In 1798 he was appointed to paint the flowers of Malmaison by Josephine Bonaparte. These designs come from his famous 1827 work 'Choix des plus Belles Fleurs.' " My four children are grown up now but the same applies now as it did when they were children and they were buying presents with their pocket money. I don't expect nor do I need expensive presents from them, especially for Mothering Sunday, which I feel has become far too commercialised. My ideal gift for this day is a bunch of flowers, or if they don't all want to get the same thing, a bottle of wine goes down well. Although I have always told them not to spend much money on me for Mother's Day and it is true that it's 'the thought that counts' I do often still receive lovely presents; usually more is spent than I would have liked, or think sensible. One of these occasions was the Mothering Sunday before last when my youngest arrived home (from university) laden with gifts. One of these gifts was a beautiful Kew Gardens Redoute Sugar Bowl and Creamer Set. The sugar bowl and the creamer were presented in a lovely hat box type container which matched the design. I was delighted by the present; it is so pretty and my daughter was proud of her purchase although I thought, for a skint university student too much money had been spent. Being a sucker for pretty packaging I kept the items boxed for a while and felt that the set was too nice to use. Now I'll be truthful in that I'm not the type to go to a lot of fuss when making tea or coffee. When it comes to tea I do think it tastes much nicer from a teapot than made in a cup with a tea bag but it's usually a mug for me rather than a delicate cup and saucer. After a while the jug and bowl were removed from the box (which I have kept) and both items have been on display in my kitchen since the gift was received but, for the purpose of reviewing, I've brought it out and come to the conclusion that it should be used. I have so many ornaments and pretty bits of crockery (some are wedding presents from almost thirty-four years ago) and I feel that a least some of these items which are made for a purpose, such as tea sets, should come out to play and be enjoyed. I hadn't heard of this delightful range before receiving my set and so had a look on the internet to see what else was available and where it was purchasable from. I was interested to see that there are other matching items and think I might enjoy collecting some. I will collect the rose design as it is nice to have a matching tea set, I think, but I was also drawn to the Peony collection and the Meadow collection. Peonies are amongst my favourite flower as is the rose. I'm very proud of the peonies I have in my garden. My thoughts were if this set was added to then I could pretend to be posh sometimes and have afternoon tea, or coffee, in my garden, weather permitting, served from pretty china cups or mugs which are included in this collection. A matching cake stand is also available and, I have to say that, this does appeal. My daughter also bought for me, at the same time, a matching tray, but that's another story! My gift consists of: ~~CREAMER~~ A small delicate looking creamer which is about 8cm in diameter and 6.5cm in height . Both sides show a pretty picture of a rose stem with pink roses in bloom (Rosa Centifolia) and some still in bud. There is a butterfly on this stem. The design also shows the famous pagoda of Kew Gardens, which was completed in 1762. It also has the stamp of KEW ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS upon it which has a crown at its centre. Around the jug's rim runs a small silver-grey design; the colour matches all wording and the pagoda sketch. The bottom of the jug tells me that it was produced under licence by "Creative Tops Ltd" and that it is made of fine china. Again the stamp of The Royal Botanic Gardens can be seen. ~~SUGAR BOWL~~ The sugar bowl is approximately 9cm in diameter and 6.5cm in height. As with the creamer it shows the rose design on both sides. The bowl has two small handles and a lid. The lid has a space for a spoon to fit in while the lid is in place, which is useful to help keep the sugar clean. The lid has a single rosebud design on it. Both items are dishwasher safe and microwavable. ~~PRESENTATION BOX~~ The presentation box is lovely in itself. It is oval in shape and looks like a miniature hat box. This box matches the creamer and sugar bowl with the same pale pink rose designs along with the silver grey pagoda alongside. This box can be kept to store the set safely or it makes an attractive storage box for trinkets. On the underneath of the box is printed a little history of The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew. This is what it says: " Creative Tops is proud to present our collection from The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which was founded in 1759 and now covers an area of over 300 acres. The historic site includes 4 Grade I listed buildings and 36 Grade II listed structures. Kew is a world leader in plant science, an international hub for conservation and a major visitor attraction that informs the public how plants are essential to human survival and development. Employing 800 staff, Kew's aim is to educate and disseminate information about vital research into the science of plants and the conservation of endangered species. The living collections include more than 30,000 kinds of plants, whilst the Herbarium, one of the world's largest, houses over 8 million preserved plant specimens. The Library contains more than 750,000 items, with the illustrations collection holding over 200,000 pieces of botanical art. This range has been created from one of the world's foremost archives of rare and historically significant artwork. Creative Tops is proud to support Kew's pivotal role as a world leader in plant science and conservation. Every purchase ensures a contribution towards Kew's vital work." ~~AVAILABLE FROM:~~ http://shop.kew.org/homeware.html £18.00 http://www.english-table.com/Kew-Gardens/Kew-Gardens-Redoute £21 ~~SUMMARY~~ I think this is a lovely set and one to cherish. I feel it really calls to be added to. An idea from now on, if my children ask for gift ideas for my birthday or Christmas, I might suggest that they buy a piece or two if buying a joint present from this lovely collection. But not for Mothers' Day as then I would prefer the 'real' flowers!