It is 70 years since the British streets thronged with cheering crowds in sheer relief that the end of the second world war had finally come.

To honour the occasion, Tea with Mary Kate has been dusting off her very best china tea cups to celebrate that quite unique moment in time. A favourite teapot filled with gorgeous seasonal flowers in patriotic red, white and blue will adorn my tea table. Not that I imagine there was too much tea drunk that night………..

I confess dear readers that I have been practising my victory rolls so they will stay in when jiving at our local vintage tea dance. What will you be doing to celebrate VE day?

Tea in Luss on the bonnie bank of Loch Lomond

Tea in Luss on the bonnie bank of Loch Lomond

Well, my dears, I tell my tale as I sit by their roaring fire. Outside is bright and brisk, the sky as pale as powder, its blue winters light illuminating the splendid snow capped hills.

There will not be that many times I think to myself when I visit a tea room where all the men are dressed in skirts, and the women wear the trousers! The secret to this observation though lies in its location. I am in the beautiful village of Luss, on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond and the men, well, all the men serving tea are dressed in their tartan kilts!

Iced ginger cake is recommended by one of my newly found kilted friends. It does not disappoint, and neither do the giant cinnamon and apple scones. All served in beautiful tartan crockery. The tea is leaf, needless to say, I am in kilted tea heaven.

Tea package from Golden Tips Tea

Tea package from Golden Tips Tea

I hardly dare open it, this package wrapped in cloth and sewn shut with deft stitches, edges sealed with molten wax. Rarely do such exotic packages reach my door so I want to savour it. Quickly though, I realise that I can either stare at this beautiful packaging, anticipating but never actually seeing what the box contains, or destroy it to reach its contents – hastily, I choose the latter. Such a life lesson already for 2015!

Inside, there is tea sent from India. A bewildering choice is before me but I know what the first brew will be. I breath in the heady aroma – I can almost taste it! The Chai is warming, flavoursome, a quite lovely blend of Assam with just the right amount of cardamom and cinnamon to give sweetness and depth and warmth and comfort. I close my eyes to savour each sip. Well, my dears, it is a dark and cold winters night – what else can a tea girl do?

My huge thanks to Golden Tips Tea who have been very generous in sending tea with their compliments. More reviews to follow.

all the tea in china

All the tea in China

Last night I travelled back to China.

Not literally.

In my minds eye I returned.

Leaving behind the creature comforts of old Blightly, we ventured forth across that vast country. It felt liberating to travel with little more than a ruck sack on our backs. Terribly foreign was the other overriding sense – I could not manage a word! Let’s agree to say nothing about, well, you know, the facilities!

But fear not my dears, there was one little luxury that I did not have to do without – lovely tea. I did not let you down and drank all that I could lay my hands to – a noble sacrifice for research purposes only as you will understand and appreciate.

I was absolutely ruined. None of your run of the mill dust there, it was all beautiful leaf, gloriously flavoured oolongs, delicate greens, not to mention the odd restorative puer. Ladies pushed large vats of the stuff through the warm parks to an expectant retired crowd focused on their next game of mahjong.

It was quite the tea adventure!

Well peeps it’s been a while but I just HAD TO share this latest discovery. After a year when Chatsworth has lost its darling dowager duchess, who by her own admission could hold her own with quite the most eccentric crowd, it seems fitting that their rather lovely house has an Alice in Wonderland theme. I do hope the theme extends to the tea room where I for one will be rushing to sample the delights, ahem, again…..in fact I think I am already late for a very important date!

Toodle pip

Beautiful Queen of Hearts wedgwood china tea cups

Valentines day Tea – with Beautiful Queen of Hearts wedgwood china tea cups

Dust off your Queen of Hearts china Wedgwood tea cups, my dears, for valentine’s day is fast approaching and I have a hypothesis, a theory if you will, that I wish to share. So are you sitting comfortably, tea cup in hand? Then I will begin.

The theory is this – that at some level everyone needs, needs mind you, to love and rather importantly to be loved in return. Without this, there is the decided feeling of something missing, an imperceptible but none the less an irrevocable gap, at least we fear it could be irrevocable, that missing piece that makes us tic, makes us whole.  I speak here beyond the realms of romantic love to include the love of a parent, sibling or friend. I also put this hypothesis to you – that we fear love and loving also for it can make us vulnerable, dependant and very malleable.

What, I hear you ask, is the answer to this difficult dilemma? To build a solid wall between you and everyone else, keep a safe distance and frankly my dears, hope for the best by keeping yourself to yourself? Or to risk the experience, to feel the feeling of adoring someone who you would willingly lay down your very life and soul for?

Of course, this choice is yours. For what its worth, I choose to take the latter path – always – for however wonderful, and however woeful, never to love is never to live.

Always on the look out for gorgeous tea associated items, I adore this lovely tea towel from Emma Bridgewater, just the thing to jolly you along when drying the dishes I feel.

Love & Scandal Tea Towel - Just the thing to dry your dishes

Love & Scandal Tea Towel – Just the thing to dry your dishes

Enamel Tea Pot

Enamel Tea Pot – Ideal for Traveling

I was not planning on buying a new tea pot, it just sort of happened. I am unable even to profess the need for a new teapot – the word need is such a subjective word mind you…….

In any event, I do have a new year policy – one in, one out. So there’s a decision to be made for the clear out – although to be honest I think there is a need for a rule change – I will clear out and donate something to a worthy charity, it just may not be a like for like exchange…….I can see the way this will go…….

“surrounded by beautiful teapots with not a plate to eat on, she was none the less totally contented, the only issue was the struggle to eat a meal out of a teapot instead from a plate”……….mmm….I am sure it won’t some to this……….

At this point, you could be forgiven for asking what has this to do with the new year? Well, as well as the year, my tea pot is new and signals a few resolutions for the new year

– to be grateful that I am able to buy things that I consider beautiful and practical.

– to remember all the wonderful shared moments I have spent sharing (and not) a lovely cup of tea

– to relish change and things that herald the beginning of a new year

But I digress – this practical purchase is for a specific purpose and it is this – picnics in wonderful places while travelling the world where a tea girl cannot possibly be without the ability to maker a proper cuppa. After quite a dilemma with a lovely red tea pot, I have chosen classic white with a blue rim for my tea ware which I adore.

I confess I have brewed tea in some unlikely places much to my travelling companions frustration – then he takes his first sip and has to concede, reluctantly he’ll be the first to tell you, but none the less concede that a cup of tea is just what he needed, yes needed!

So, my dears, if you have plans, or no plans at all, make 2014 the year you reflect on all that you have already and think about your new year resolutions and strive to have a go of at least some of them – what are we waiting for? I know you will wish me luck with my travelling tea pot – which you can see I have already chipped – I anticipate more chips along the way!

Christmas Tea Time

Christmas tea time – with a lovely vintage china tea cup

More than ever I am convinced that there is contentment in the ordinary, that every moment can be made joyful, or rushed passed and missed, and that there is meaning in the small things, including spending a moment to create and enjoy a tea at Christmas time.

Christmas tea time ideas can be simple or elaborate, expensive or thrifty. The overriding point is that they are to give you space and time to breathe, to relax and to connect, either back with yourself or with others that during the year you have been just “too busy” to see.

My dears, you will know already I have a bias for vintage china tea cups. My perfect Christmas tea time is served in front of a roaring fire, teaspoons in saucers tinkle like bells, while aromatic candle light flickers. Bringing in foliage from the garden is a quick and lovely way to create instant drama and atmosphere – I love holly and ivy and branches of pine trees with dried oranges and cinnamon framed in big dramatic candle sticks.


Christmas Tea Time with beautiful holly & ivy

Christmas Tea Time

I adore being able to have a little bit of everything, so my perfect Christmas tea time consists of bite size morsels which avoids me having to make any decisions or choices. Quite honestly, I spend whole days doing this at work, so it is hardly a surprise to want to avoid it at all costs for Christmas tea time. And do I need to say, it is all served on vintage white table linen edged with lace or crotchet. Tartan is another option but I am feeling this tea is a gentle affair.

My perfect choices for a christmas tea include:

Home made Christmas cake

Millionaires shortbread with salted caramel in perfect small squares

Miniature mince pies with home made mince meat with a rather large dollop of brandy butter

All served with Assam or a nice bold tea blend. It goes without saying that this is leaf tea, as the tea needs both depth and flavour that you can only get from brewing leaves to balance and complement the sweetness of the cake and pastry.

Even if you are not particularly religious, quite simply Christmas tea time can create magical moments, a time to laugh and to love. May your Christmas tea be a time that is nurturing and healing and one that gives you, and others, what you wish for sand need at Christmas.

Christmas Afternoon Tea with Reindeer Cup Cakes

Christmas Afternoon Tea with Reindeer Cup Cakes

Tea for Two

why send flowers when you can send biscuits?

Biscuiteer Tea for Two – Why send flowers when you can send biscuits?

“Why send flowers when you could send biscuits?” Why indeed?! 

This rather splendid question raised my expectations and I for one was not disappointed by the marvellous creativity of Biscuiteers – you could choose a tin of nativity biscuits – quite appropriate for time of year – or a tin of Christmas Tree biscuits – which they argue no Christmas tree would be complete without – and who am I to argue? …………Except there was no contest in my mind – Tea with Mary Kates immediate choice was a personalised tea for two – anyone for tea and an almost too amazing to eat biscuit?