Archive for the ‘Inspiring Days To Celebrate’ Category
Posted in Inspiring Days To Celebrate, tagged delicious father's day treat, fathers day, ideas for fathers day, inspiration for tea and living, iPAD gadget for fathers day, neal's yard organic grooming, Sizzling father's day barbeque, tea with mary kate on June 18, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
While Mother’s Day is a well established event, historically Father’s Day has never gained such recognition
You’ll know by now from the numerous blog posts to this site, Tea with Mary Kate looks to inspire us to take time to connect, to encourage us to appreciate the ordinary & value it for the extraordinary that it is, each and every day. June 20th is Father’s Day across many countries in the world, and is such a wonderful opportunity to say thank you. Seize the moment, be courageous!
Tea with Mary Kate’s inspiring idea’s for the Perfect Father’s Day
Father’s Day Tea in Bed – Breakfast and a Cup to match!
Making breakfast in bed is a perfect way to celebrate the start of Father’s Day! Another idea is to serve the tea in a mug or cup that is a present, as a momento of the day. It goes without saying that of course, the tea would need to be leaf, and brewed in a tea pot.
A Day Trip to his Favourite Place
Now, this is the crucial thing – it may not be your favourite place but the point here it that it is his – and that’s the gift!
A Sizzling Barbeque
I defy any Dad to not be delighted with a full on barbeque – in between the current football world cup games of course. You may even have trouble prizing said Dad away from the cooking – you know, all that outdoor cooking is such a man thing……
Organic Grooming for Father’s Day from Neal’s Yard
Of course, it’s a well know fact that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…….and this one is great for all those sweet toothed fathers. Betty’s wonderful cakes never disappoint.
A Bottle of his Favourite Tipple
The Black Isle Brewing Co is a small intensely independent organic brewery in Inverness, the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Their mission is to produce a range of top quality organic beers packaged in recycled materials. The barley and hops used are grown on organic farms, without artificial fertilisers or herbicides. Your conscience can be assuaged by the organic credentials. I love their clever motto:
SAVE THE PLANET DRINK ORGANIC
A Gadget for Father’s Day
There are your standard power tools of course, but for a quite extravagant present, and it really is extravagant despite the claims of an unbelievable price, how about the Apple iPAD for the ultimate technological gift!
Presents are lovely, but the real gift is the thought, the care, dare I say the love in the act of recognising your Dad on Father’s Day
For those Dad’s that are no longer with us, it’s a moment to remember them. Your Dad may have offered great advise at a critical moment in your life, may even have been the white knight on the charger coming to your rescue, loved you so unconditionally that it meant the whole world to you. Life is so precious, but it sometimes that eludes us. Tea with Mary Kate’s wish for this post is that it motives you to create a Father’s Day to remember, a memorable occasion to celebrate our Father’s.
All Aboard the Luxurious Northern Belle! A Glamorous Vintage Train Journey for Mary Kate to the Chelsea Flower Show.
Posted in Inspiring Days To Celebrate, tagged 1930 train carriages, Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express, all abord, Bletchley Park Enigma machine, blissful bellini, brunch and bellinis, chelsea flower show, connecting experience, crewe staion, glamourous vintage train journey, harlech train carriage, http://wp.me/pLF99-tC, inspiration for tea and living, Luxury Northern belle, luxury train travel britain, magical journey, Northen Belle orient express charity dinner, tea with mary kate, west cost main line on May 29, 2010 | 7 Comments »
It’s very early on a cold misty morning in late May. Standing on the platform at Crewe station, there is an air of anticipation. We have an invitation to board the Northern Belle!
I’ve hardly been able to sleep in a mixture of excitement and anxiety, not to mention deciding what to wear! And now the moment is almost here. The train can’t wait if you are late. And trust me, you would never wish to miss this very special train. We’ve been told that the train will appear on platform 12! It’s sounds like some magical event, reminiscent of reading J K Rowling’s description of the arrival of Hogwarts express on platform 9 3/4!
Suddenly, the train is arriving at the station. Beautiful carriage after beautiful carriage sweeps past, as the train pulls along the platform.
Every 1930s carriages is unique, each rescued and refurbished to their original splendor and named after a stately home in Britain.
And quite literally, the carpet is swept out and laid at the entrance to each carriage door. As if by some amazing coincidence, we find ourselves being directly towards “Harlech”, and this Welsh girl is thrilled! The journey starts at Liverpool, along the west coast main line, ending at London Kensington Olympia, with the promise of travelling into the heart of the British countryside, passing such stations as Long Buckby and Bletchley, home of the World War II spy code breaking machine Enigma.
The table is already set for breakfast, white linen and china, adorned with a vase of pretty flowers.
After waiting on the cold platform, the warmth inside the amazing carriage is a welcome treat. And oh, what a sight! We are surrounded by enchanting bright yellow daffodils adorning the ceiling and walls, just perfect for our trip to Chelsea. Upholstered seats with squishy cushions await, if only every train were this comfortable. And I’ll let you into a little secret – there are even daffodils on the mosaic floor of the beautiful toilets – really you could not ask for anything more!
The gentle rattle of china, glass and cutlery heralds the start of the journey as the train drifts out of the station. It is straight out of an Agatha Christie novel. Anticipation of Brunch with a blissful Bellini is beckoning
A bowl of muesli with fresh natural yogurt is served immediately to “keep you going”, with a lovely cup of tea. Then brunch is served at 8.30am. Bellini’s are created at our perfect table for two, gorgeous white peach puree and chilled, sparkling Italian Prosecco, I could get quite used to this!
Light is flooding in and you find yourself staring out at a perfect vista of the quintessentially lovely British countryside, framed in the huge windows. The vista is in perfect focus rather than the usual blur.
I wonder why I am able to more clearly glimpse the meandering rivers, spot canals, and spy the blossom of tress, the countryside is awash with blooming wild flowers - purple lupins, white dog daisy’s, scarlet red poppies. Then it dawns on me, it’s because we are traveling more slowly than usual. We are on the scenic route rather than the fast line. This train captures the essence of times past, the nostalgia of another age, when you traveled for the pleasure of journey itself. It is leisurely, relaxing, with no loud announcements, the attentive crew there to address you every question, meet your every need.
Then we’re off to the Chelsea Flower show, what a perfect day!
Returning to the train, Dominic is waiting attentively by the door, carpet laid to welcome us aboard again, everything ready for us to be whisked back up North.
It felt like being welcomed back home, the table already set for dinner, efficiency and style enveloping us, absolutely faultless, our unflappable train manager James adept at managing any situation, even when the Chelsea traffic means we just make it back in time for our departure!
Now, you’ll know well enough by now that Tea with Mary Kate has an interest in the aesthetic, and exacting standards. I can honestly say that dinner was more lovely than that I’ve had at some restaurants back “on solid land”. The staff must travel miles, sweeping down the long beautiful carriages with plates of gorgeous, and this is the amazing thing, still hot dinner (I was prepared to forgive a slightly cool dinner given the logistics of where the kitchen was, but honestly didn’t need to).
Agatha’s Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” brings additional notoriety to this splendid journey.
The temptation is too much and I purchase a lovely special edition copy of the book, the design on the front cover changed annually. The company own neither railway track or engines. A visit to the boutique shop takes you past the “working end” of the train and it is all run like clock work. The train crew work hard, and our carriage had the charming Dominic, Peter and Mark, all of whom had a genuine humour and desire to please. And it’s an even earlier start for them at 5.30 am, then back late, with a repeat of that routine for the next days journey. But the crew talk of seeing different parts of the Britain, of meeting different people, of hearing different accents. Crewe station will be their home for the night before setting off on another adventure again tomorrow.
At Northampton, the British cheese board arrives!
And it is literally a huge tray of cheese that spans the tables of the carriage. With a mouth watering choice of scrumpy Sussex, old smoked cheddar, Montgomery (a Welsh creation), Oxford blue, and brie to name a few I was thrown into an impossible dilemma of what to choose! So I asked for a little of each one – perfect!
The journey seems to last for ever, it was like steeping back in time, but all too soon, we were almost back at Crewe Station. The journey was a delight, absolutely the best of British vintage to its core.
The carpet is laid for the final time for us, our lovely crew are assembled to say good bye. Of the huge expectations after reading the glossy brochure, there is the potential that it does not quite reach where your vivid imagination may go. I can happily say, without a shadow of a doubt, that expectations were more than met, I’d go so far as to say exceeded. It felt like a glamorous adventure, in gorgeous luxurious surroundings, a truly wonderful culinary delight, with the added bonus of a trip to the Chelsea flower show. The ultimate sign of great service is frankly that you no longer notice it. It appears, and your every wish is almost anticipated, and happily met. The journey was a delight, absolutely the best of British vintage to its core. And gosh, after such a splendid way of traveling, goodness knows how I am going to fare on the next ordinary train journey, I am ruined forever!
We are finally back. It is late, and as if to confirm we have been transported back to the normal world, the rain is starting to drizzle. It is a strange sensation, as if emerging from some lovely dream, leaving some magic place, as we emerge from Crewe station.
Of course, this is a luxurious indulgence, for us it was a long worked for and anticipated celebration but I am heartened to hear of the Northern Belle plans for a charity dinner in October. Tea with Mary Kate adores the fact that the journey is an experience in itself rather than just the rush of getting to a destination. There is time to relish every morsel, savour every moment. The journey on the Northern Belle was just a perfect, enchanting, almost magical experience, a glimpse into the world of traveling in times past, and a signal for how to take time to celebrate life. Tea with Mary Kate hopes to be back on board again as soon as possible!
Tea with Mary Kate’s splendid visit to the 2010 RHS Chelsea Flower Show -These are a few of my favourite things
Posted in Inspiring Days To Celebrate, Plants Herbs and Pots, The Practical and The Beautiful, tagged aesthetic, beautiful and pratical, connecting experience, dragonswood forge, garden organic heritage seed libary, hwhyde lily growers, inspiration for tea and living, nutscene, RHS chelsea flower show, Sweet Tea cafe heucheraholics, tea with mary kate, tom hare willow, tregothnan cornish tea estate, zimbolic on May 29, 2010 | 3 Comments »
It’s such a perfect day! Having arrived in some splendour aboard the Northern Belle, the RHS flower show at Chelsea is more than a fitting destination, but how to see it all?! Here are a few of Tea with Mary Kate’s favourite things:
Favourite Stand in the Great Pavilion – Sweet Tea Cafe
I confess to never having heard of Heucheras, but I just fell in love with them, and absolutely adored this stand. I’m reliably informed by Jooles, a self confessed heucheraholic, that the inspiration for the Sweet tea cafe theme came from the names of the varieties – and with names like creme brulee, vanilla spice, strawberry swirl, key lime pie cappuccino, chocolate ruffles, tiramisu, it’s easy to understand why! Of course how could Tea with Mary Kate resist the wonderful green shed and amazing purple tea cups!
These pretty plants are great for shade, and with such diversity of form. Rather worryingly, I am beginning to understand the obsession – Geisha’s fan and blackberry jam just two more gorgeous names for equally gorgeous plants.
The first sight that greeted me at the RHS flower show in Cardiff was an amazing Red dragon, aptly surrounded by the turrets of Cardiff Castle, and I was delighted to find Dragonswood Forge, at Chelsea too. These amazing dragons are designed and created by the blacksmith Neil Lossock. You can see his screens with fern patterns seared through them just behind the dragon, really very clever too. Neil has also made an amazing mechanical water fountain, which as the tuberous flower fill and tip their water, makes a magical bell like sound against the mushroom shaped bells below – just wonderfully creative!
Favorite Practical Gardening Item
Nutscene, gorgeous, practical twine, manufactured in Angus, Scotland. In business since 1922, it has a rather cleaver patented lock tie spool so you never have to get into a knot with garden twine again – and the lovely bit – they are in gorgeous colours – lilac is a personal favourite.
After having read all about the businesss in Country Living magazine, it was an absolute pleasure to meet its inspiring and enthusiastic managing director Shona Young, who welcomed me into their stall. There was a lovely British flag made out of the round ends of twine. Sadly readers, I neglected to take a photograph, as literally, I stood in front of the stand unable to move, bedazzled by the array of beautiful and practical products. Shona assures me they’ll have the Saltaire when they are back in Scotland! Quite frankly, I was like a child in a sweet shop, I barely knew what to choose, but I plumed for the Tins of twine, with its recyclable authentic vintage label redrawn from the Nutscene archives, just perfect!
Favourite Leaf Tea
Tregothnan - Beautiful tins of leaf tea, grown at the Cornish estate – and who could resist the wonderful giant red teapot!
Favourite Willow Sculpture
Tom Hares “Tree of Knowledge” skillfully crafted from greenwood willow, is fabulous! The personal pledges to support biodiversity (ensuring that we keep both common and rare species of everything, not only plants!) hug on copper leaves were poignant and very thought provoking, the whole idea really for RHS support for UNs international year of biodiverity.
Favourite Ethical Business
Zimbolic - Jonathan is so passionate about what he does, it is truly humbling. Designs are crafted from recycled oil drums, giving stable employment in Zimbabwe, while creating these beautiful garden ornaments. I adored these wonderful hogs on the hill, looking quite at home at Chelsea.
Favourite Cottage plant
Blackmore & Langdon’s gorgeous majestic Delphiniums
Favourite Inspiring Idea
Garden organic Heritage seed Library the UKs leading organic growing charity, committed to conserving varieties of vegetables that would otherwise have disappeared – I loved the red flowered broad bean, and my one pot pledge is to grow my courgette organically (Ok, so I already grow everything organically, even though last years cauliflower crop was eaten by caterpillars, it means lots of beautiful butterflies and healthy birds!)
Just like the Chelsea flower Show. If you have never been, promise yourself a visit, it’s an inspiring day out, full of idea’s for your own gardens, absolutely gorgeous plants, all in the grounds of Chelsea hospital, London.
Idylic Whitsun Afternoon Tea – Idea’s and Inspiration from Tea with Mary Kate wishing for a Vintage Tea complete with Bunting and Eton Mess
Posted in Enchanting Afternoon Tea, Inspiring Days To Celebrate, tagged connecting experience, eton mess strawberries cream, inspiration for tea and living, portmerion crockery, tea with mary kate, vintage garden tea with bunting, whitsun may day on May 28, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
I so adore this time of year, drifting into summer, full of hope and optimism for a warm summer.
A cloth for the table, naturally, although we’re outside, there are certain standards to maintain after all. A sturdy vase, filled with freshly picked wild flowers, not precious primulas but common or garden angelica and a branch of gorgeous smelling lilac. Bird song fills the air, the swallows have returned, I am officially on holiday in my back garden!
I will let you into a little secret…..I have a fondness for my garden shed…
It’s a hideaway, a retreat. I’m surrounded by my pots, with a view out to the raised beds of the kitchen garden - the phone doesn’t ring, and the wireless network doesn’t stretch there either. Mice are tunnelling under the floor boards, braving beyond the borders of their composting bin base and making reconnoissance missions to steal the bean seeds I have foolishly stored there. The Shed’s wooden slats no longer form a continuous end wall, and sunlight streams though the side of the shed where the gap is. I’ve had new glass put in and it’s had a lick of paint – I just adore it.
And bunting, lots and lots of bunting fluttering in the warm breeze.
There’s just something quintessentially British about bunting, memories of old fashioned street parties, brought out for special occasions
No pudding more accurately captures the idyl of British afternoon summers than Eton Mess
The British favourite was creatively named after its original location, Eton College and now served at Prize giving. It is a gorgeous mix of strawberry’s cream and meringue, all jumbled up in a glorious mess. The beauty of this creation is how simple it is to make but just how wonderful it tastes! And it almost goes without saying, Tea with Mary Kate insists Eton Mess is served with tea. I was feeling in need of a bucket of the warm beverage, Portmerion’s “Crazy Daisy” crockery fitting the bill perfectly. The contrast of the sweet summer pudding with warm, aromatic tea served out of doors, just perfect on a idyllic sunny afternoon.
Tea with Mary Kate wishes for the best ever Whitsun.
Create your own idyllic picnic. Avoid the inevitable traffic jams, and have a “day out” in your back garden. Above all though, enjoy the extra time Whitsun brings, whatever the weather, though, quite honestly, I’ll be hoping for warm and sunny, but I’d settle for dry
Tea and Vintage Steam Trains – Tea with Mary Kate has a thrilling evening at The Baker Street Murder Mystery at Llangollen Steam Railway
Posted in Inspiring Days To Celebrate, tagged cottage tea rooms llangollen, enchanting and connecting experience, inspiration for tea and living, Interact (Wales), llangollen steam train, murder mystery evening, tea with mary kate, vintage train journey, wales, Welsh Brew tea on May 12, 2010 | 1 Comment »
A quite indifferent day turns into a beautiful but chilly May evening. Wisps of steam are visible in the distance, rising from the picturesque station at Llangollen, the very distinctive smell of coal in the air.
Instantly transported back in time whilst being whisked through the glorious Welsh countryside, the journey on board the amazing Llangollen steam train is an enchanting experience. But tonight, expectation and excitement is riding high, with further thrills promised as as the plot of the Baker Street murder mystery is revealed.
Luckily for us, there is just enough time on route for a visit to the lovely Cottage Tea rooms.
Sitting next to the huge black range that would have been the heart of these cosy old cottages, our tea pot arrives. To my absolute joy, it is leaf tea, and contently, we sip away as delicious Welsh Brew is the blend. Absolute bliss!
At Llangollen’s glorious vintage station the warmth of the enchanting real coal fire in their tea room is an inviting distraction from the cold.
The date is 8th May 2010 and as our glorious steam engine pulls us gently out of Llangollen station, history echoes at the amazing coincidence – it’s exactly 145 years to the very day a steam train first travelled down the track. The spectacular countryside is framed in the old carriage windows. The steam hisses, rather cleverly warming the carriages. The engine whistle sounds, such an evocative noise…
But we’re here to solve the Baker Street Murder Mystery. The Victorian characters appear, the plot unfolds.
Sherlock Holmes is under arrest for murder. His only chance for clearing his name is for his loyal friend Ron H Wotsit (a lovely humorous take on Watson!) Wotsit must find out who has committed the crime! Engaging and totally entertaining, the talented actors from Interact (Wales) transport us to another Victorian era, and it does not take too much imagination, surrounded by the noise of the wonderfully authentic steam engine. As the plot thickens, we journey on. After a quick stretch of the legs at Corwen station, the train turns around to head back.
It is getting dark as we speed back to Llangollen. All too soon our nostalgic journey, replete with Victorian murder mystery, is almost at an end.
There is no doubt for me though, the real star of the show is the glorious steam train, and the wonderful station at Llangollen. Tea with Mary Kate adores the nostalgia of the Llangollen steam train, its vintage station transporting you on a journey to cherish. The next murder mystery “Murder onboard the Abbey Express” is on 17th July – Tea with Mary Kate’s advice – don’t miss it!
Welsh Gardener’s Delight at the RHS Flower show in Cardiff – Mary Kate is inspired now Spring has Sprung
Posted in Inspiring Days To Celebrate, tagged afternoon tea, Cardiff Castle Bute Park, connecting experience, Enchanting Afternoon Tea, herbs in wales, inspiration for tea and living, love patisserie, pieminister, RHS flower show, spring has sprung, tea with mary kate, welsh daffodil delight on April 18, 2010 | 4 Comments »
Spring has sprung and it is nothing short of a perfect day for the RHS Flower show in Cardiff.
The cherry blossom drifts across the soft blue sky above Bute Park, the splendid architecture of Cardiff Castle an appropriately magnificent background for the picture postcard weather. The cry of the seagulls, so familiar to those who live in Cardiff they no longer hear them, evoke my childhood memories of growing up in this wonderful Welsh city.
I am here quite by accident, a quirk of fate, Icelandic Volcano’s dictating the travel agenda, but it brings me home and I am glad for that.
The RHS has returned to Cardiff, with the ever popular school’s wheelbarrow planting competition, willow weaving workshops, and of course, creative and inspiring gardens.
Two splendid floral marquees have wonderful daffodils ( this is Wales after all!), chrysanthemums and amazing bonsai. I adored the skilful demonstration of corsage making. As we stroll past a lovely display of Fuchsia’s, and I am transported back to my Grandfathers green house which was always over flowing with these beautiful and colourful plants.
I was delighted also to rediscover Tristen May’s beautiful handcrafted metal furniture, really inspiring water features, arches, planters and tunnels, as well as beautiful gazebos, and stylish tables and chairs.
As well as being a feast for the eyes, RHS show Cardiff is a culinary delight!
After an enchanting morning’s activities , we decide it’s time for a cup of tea. As luck would have it, we find Welsh Brew Tea, a really lovely, flavoursome, quality blend of Kenyan and Assam, just perfect for sipping on a sunny day.
Our tea is accompanied by Love Patisserie handmade French style tarts that are melt in the mouth, beautifully presented and with gorgeous fillings!
I was also really excited to find that Pie minister was there. I’ve been a fan for a few years now and I love their idea for a street party – both such great British traditions.
As we spy the bandstand, Jazz and celtic melodies float over the scent filled air. It’s like being instantly on holiday, but we are in need of a table. I whisper secretly my little request, and like some magic that I can’t quite believe, it works, a table appears just as we need it. We collapse, armfuls of plants and food, it is bliss.
Tea with Mary Kate is enchanted by this magical, green fingered day, and I hope this has you digging to create a wonderful gardener’s delight in which to sip your tea while the sun shines.
Posted in Inspiring Days To Celebrate, tagged afternoon tea, afternoon tea outdoors, afternoon tea outside, ideas for a mavellous may day, inspiration for tea and living, knowledge of the past, may day, may day picnic, may pole, Padstow may day obby oz, picnic, spring has sprung, start of summer, tea, tea with mary kate, welsh may day tradition on April 14, 2010 | 1 Comment »
The quintessential eccentricity of the British is never more marvellously illustrated than in what happens on May Day
Now that spring has sprung, my thoughts are turning to May Day, and those traditions that herald the first official Day of summer, with Celebrations that take place up and down Britian. These can be described as varied, interesting, but in all honesty, eccentric is probably the most accurate description. These celebrations are steeped in tradition, rituals that connect us to the past, but their essence is a celebration, a giving thanks for what we often take for granted, giving us a precious gift of future tradition to be continued. The weather is not always perfect though, just as Sean and Mary Kate expereinced after their initial stroll.
One of the oldest surviving May Day customs happens in Padstow, believed to be a ancient fertility rite marking the coming of Summer
Last year, we were lucky enough to witness first hand the Obby Oz! This gorgeous little Cornish fishing village is decorated with bunting, greenery and beautiful flowers swathed over the buildings. The joy of the occasion is infectious, the drums beating, the chorus being sung, and what seems like the whole village following the Oz throughout the streets.
Welsh May Day traditions
It would be remiss of me not to mention the Welsh May Day tradition of Carlon Mai. To quote Hilaire Wood’s excellent article;
“The celebrations always began the evening before, May Eve being one of the ysprydnos or ‘spirit nights’ when all sorts of spirits and supernatural forces were abroad, and divination— usually with the aim of discovering who one’s sweetheart would be—was carried out.”A picnic is the perfect May Day event to celebrate the start of summer
Although meant to be the start of summer, the weather can be unpredictable, the wonderful thing is that this just makes it all the better, a sort of triumph over adversity, the weather verses mere mortals. The fresh air, sense of freedom and adventure, takes you outside the everyday, even if you are just sitting at the bottom of your garden, or in a near by park.
The essence of a picnic is that it feels like an outdoors treat!
May Day Picnics are about carrying armfuls of chairs and blankets to your favourite spot, it’s afternoon tea outdoors. The ritual of setting up camp -I’ll be taking one of my favourite Welsh blankets to keep me warm. And of course, picnic baskets filled to the brim with all good things, favourite food to savour. I love eating outdoors, because somehow food just tastes so much better! Flasks filled with boiling hot water to make tea – and it goes without saying that you’ll be taking your tea pot and tea leaves. Sipping one slow sip at a time is such bliss.
May Day is restful, revitalising, allowing a magical connection with the start of summer.
The start of summer is fleeting but fabulous. You start to anticipate warmth of the sun, feel the breeze, stare into space while pretending to look at the vista. Tea with Mary Kate urges you to celebrate the start of summer, and have a marvellous May Day, where generations continue to nurture some very special May Day traditions. Create your own Picnic, rain or shine!
Posted in Enchanting Afternoon Tea, Inspiring Days To Celebrate, tagged autonomy mastery purpose, birthday afternoon high tea, birthday high tea, clifton cake cafe, connecting experience, daniel pink, drive, inspiration for tea and living, motivation, surprising truth about what motivates us, tea with mary kate, what's your sentence on April 2, 2010 | 1 Comment »
Celebrate! Rejoice! You’re just about to reach another birthday!
Ok, yes, and another year older! It’s always a bit of a reflective time for me. On separate years, my darling grandparents died within a few days either side of the date of my birthday, so without too much sorrow, but with a joyous recollection of wonderful times past, I always especially remember them over my birthday.
Around my birthday, I discovered Daniel Pinks amazing and inspirational new book Drive. There’s a wealth of insight in there, so I would highly recommend that you acquire and read a copy, it’s life changing stuff.
A few things that are really resonating with me. The first are these 2 questions:
What’s your sentence? – By this, he means how someone would sum up in a single sentence what you are about
Was I better today than yesterday? – And this is clever stuff, are you improving or stagnating?
Autonomy, mastery and purpose are key themes to Daniel’s persuasive prose
- Autonomy – The desire to direct our own lives
- Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters
- Purpose – the yearning to what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves
There is a good dose on understanding what really is, and is not motivating – with the insightful phrase “there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does” (read business to mean literally or how you run your life).
Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with a birthday afternoon teas, but read on, I promise there’s a very strong connection.
So, after reading Daniel’s book, it got me thinking, what is my sentence? Was I better this year? Your birthday, by its very nature an annual event, is a perfect chance to think, to reflect on what you have done over the past year, and why you’re doing it. And a wonderful opportunity to think about the motivation for what you’d like to have done by the time your birthday comes around again next year. Dare I say it, perhaps it’s also a time to think about why you haven’t done it yet.
A Birthday Afternoon Tea provides a practical time for motivation to reflect
It’s an opportunity to spend time with those who love and support you. Dust off your vintage crockery, lay the table with a splendid table cloth (I have an original from my Grandmother), create a menu of gorgeous sandwiches, cakes and savouries. And have the kettle on permanent boil for endless cups of glorious warming tea. I’m looking forward to it! This year more than any other, I’m going to use my birthday to motivate my year ahead.
Birthday’s are also all about lovely cakes with big candles!
Just like from the wonderful Clifton cake Cafe, perfect for a birthday afternoon tea.
Birthday’s are precious, life is precious but is never perfect. My hope is that Tea with Mary Kate inspires you to take time to celebrate, and to relish the annual reminder to motivate your future life decisions.