Most of the time I love to drink robust black tea but there are times my dears when a healing herbal infusion is just the thing. This is where the “make your own tea range” from Sarah Raven comes into its own. I adore the lovely tisaniere or if you need just one cup the tea for one infuser will be just the ticket, although quite honestly I cannot image too many situations where one cup would suffice . Then, there are the rather cute tea bags for keeping your herbs in with its practical metal clip but ensuring the flavour gets out. The main reason I think the whole range is so utterly charming though is that you can grow your own herbs to infuse – splendid stuff.
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Always on the look out for lovely things to do with tea, I found this rather splendid afternoon tea tile from Marlborough tiles. My dears, so lovely is it that to justify a purchase I am thinking of all kinds of walls that need to be tiled………………I hope you think it is lovely too.
In all our lives, I think there are times when we will feel fine, content even – we are contributing to the world in a way that is meaningful to us. Then there are the other times when it’s decidedly out of kilter. Before your mind even leaps to the question “What has this to do with tea?”, I am going to ask you to pause, to breathe and hear me out.
When we feel out of sorts in a way that we are unable to solve and quite honestly would benefit from a little guiding help to rediscover our more centred and grounded self, this is where the discovery of Mindfulness – A practical guide to peace in a frantic world - comes into its own.
To practise, authors Prof Mark William’s and Danny Penman ask for an activity to be identified that “mindfulness” can be applied to. In other words, they seek a daily activity to which we can apply their “be in the now” philosophy. Frankly, my dears, it will come as no great surprise what the activity is that I identified – yes,making a cup of tea.
As I reach for the teapot, I am already observing my breathing, listening for the kettle to boil, then really hearing the hiss of the water on the tea, experiencing the distinctive aroma, the feel of the china in my hand, and anticipating that first warm sip. Already, experiencing this “now” has already slowed my breathing and reconnected me to the present.
MINDFULNESS focuses on promoting joy and peace rather than banishing unhappiness. It’s precisely focused to help ordinary people boost their happiness and confidence levels whilst also reducing anxiety, stress and irritability.
More tea anyone?
In the deep dark depths of ancient Welsh Woodland, you can just make out a whisper of smoke rising from rather an unprepossessing cottage. Far from pretty but surrounded by a garden with the feel of a grotto, you would be unsurprised to walk past fairies & witches as you make your way to the threshold.
Inside Ty Hyll, “The Ugly House” though, all feels welcoming & safe. The fire blazes in the open hearth, the tinkle of spoons against china, each ring casts what feels like an enchanting spell. Their blend of tea tastes quite magical (and is frustratingly secret!). Seek out this characterful place near Snowdonia and I promise you will not be disappointed.
Christmas is solved! Well, it is for all of us tea lovers at any rate. These very stylish woollie beauties to cover tea pots by Dutch designer Eva Solo are just the thing to keep hot all that needs to be kept hot – after all, with all the potential challenges ahead for winter fuel and heating, I think every tea pot deserves to be kept warm too, don’t you?
It is the weekend – hooray! At this point, I am usually looking forward excitedly to having time, tea and well, more tea in all honesty. But there is anxiety for me this week my dears as I dare to broach a rather delicate subject – yes, last weeks episode of Downton Abbey.
It all stared so well three weeks ago – the reason we all fell in love with Downton in the first place was exemplified by watching the still grief stricken Lady Mary – which one of us has not felt loss or could fail to empathise with her. I think it is that ability to connect to our common experiences directly through the life of the Crawley’s that is the real strength of its success.
However, even the Countess of Carnarvon was a little put out at last weeks episode. Like her, I watch Downton to be enveloped in loveliness, in a world of beautiful frocks and rooms that I would love to be sitting in front of the fire sipping tea from my china tea cup just served by Carson the Butler ( even the Countess is Butler-less these days). It is the world where the distance between the forks on the table matters and you can watch with some amusement the lives and squabbles of the servants. It was all the more shocking then to be knocked from this safe perch, cocooned as I thought I was, into such a horrible situation.
I am not sure Downton can ever be the same again and I am saddened by that. I concede that this awful violence has been the experience of some, and I sympathise hugely but it felt entirely out of kilter with the tone of all other Downton episodes. I will watch, tea cup in hand, with some trepidation at this weeks episode.
I am unable to claim the credit for the splendid description of Penhaligon’s tea cup – but the description “Spiffing” has now become the word de jour. What a splendid description for such a splendid cup – the only significant disadvantage is the requirement to spend £100 to have one……oh well………