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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?

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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?

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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.

Lovely afternoon tea tile from Marlborough tiles

afternoon tea tile 

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Lahloo Tea's Oolong

Mindfulness – brewing tea as a way to finding peace in a frantic world

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?

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