10 August 2023

Childhood memories inspire high tea and spa treatments for kids

| Kellie O'Brien
Join the conversation
Ma Petite Cherie owner Tammy Wardle

Ma Petite Cherie owner Tammie Wardle has been booked nearly every weekend since opening in April. Photos: Albey Bond Photography.

Little girls don pink silk robes and wear edible chocolate face masks while sipping pink lemonade in flutes and being pampered with a pedicure.

This is all after first tiptoeing along the red carpet into an elegant French-inspired setting with a crystal chandelier, custom-built foot spas with soft pink furniture and high-end floral arrangements.

Tammie Wardle opened Ma Petite Cherie Kids Spa and Tea in Kiama in April and has been booked with birthday parties and ‘Mummy and Me’ events nearly every weekend since.

The inspiration for the business was a combination of Tammie’s childhood memories of sharing high tea with her grandmother and her eight-year-old daughter’s love of pedicures with Mum.

READ ALSO Kiama Council creating an inclusive environment for all members of the community

However, it is now set to expand into creative workshops for adults and ‘Daddy and Me’ experiences.

“I spent a lot of time growing up having sleepovers with my grandmother and, around that time, there weren’t a lot of high tea places,” Tammie said.

“So when we could find one, we’d go and have high tea.

“But there was always a ritual of the morning and the afternoon tea at her place and she would always make something delicious.

“She was a wonderful baker, whether it was a sponge cake or a slice of some sort.”

Tammie said her grandmother always made a point of sitting down to enjoy morning or afternoon tea.

It’s something Tammie still does to this day.

Her other indulgence is spa days with her daughter Annabel, which inspired the spa treatments side of the business.

Ma Petite Cherie spa treatment

Ma Petite Cherie offers spa treatments as part of kids’ birthday parties.

“She’s turning nine this year and she loves going to have her nails and her feet done with me,” she said.

“The places, they just don’t accommodate younger children.

“The chairs are too big and they can’t put their feet in.

“I just thought it would be wonderful for them to be able to celebrate being girls and having their nails done, their face done and their feet done and having a birthday party at the same time.”

Being a mother-of-three who’s hosted a few birthday parties in her time, Tammie said she had learned what it took to entertain children at parties.

She said the business fitted nicely into a French theme, which led to the name Ma Petite Cherie, meaning “my little sweetheart” – another nod to her daughter.

“She’s been the biggest inspiration,” she said of Annabel.

“Being eight, she’s helped a lot with the picking of the colours and what needs to be in the boutique.”

Tammie has sourced everything from the chandelier to bone china teacups and teapots and custom-built foot spas to create the full experience.

“I knew what I wanted it to look like, the theme of it and where things were going as soon as I walked into the space,” she said.

Even the outside of the building is painted pink, which draws attention being in the centre of Kiama.

“It’s quite funny because when we actually opened the doors, I’d get people walking in saying, ‘Oh my goodness, can I come in and have a look?’” she said.

“It’s been really well received in Kiama and the pink definitely stands out.”

She said while she set out to create an elegant, sophisticated boutique for children’s birthday parties, she was now expanding into high teas, functions and art-based workshops for adults.

Adults will be able to enjoy clay making and watercolour painting, or baby showers and hen’s high teas.

“We’re also branching out into doing some creative kids parties as well, which will be cupcake decorating, jewellery making and also canvas painting instead of the spa side of the children’s parties.”

READ ALSO New mental health hub for kids to provide wraparound services in the Illawarra

She said all experiences for children were centred on building on their skills, including motor skills and social skills.

“It’s getting them off the iPad and learning a bit of the etiquette that comes with socialising with friends and also building those relationships again and connecting with each other,” she said.

Another new stream to the business will be branching into Daddy and Me experiences.

“I’ve had a lot of dads saying, ‘Well, I’d love to bring my daughter in. I could have my nails painted and I want the chocolate face mask,’” she said.

“We’re also looking at opening up to brides coming in and having their morning or afternoon session in here on the day of their wedding to get ready.”

Tammie said one bride was already interested in pampering her bridal party in the space, after being challenged with fitting seven people into a hotel room.

Ma Petite Cherie is located in Manning Street, Kiama.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.