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Posts Tagged ‘time for tea’

Always on the look out for practical and beautiful tea related items,  Tea with Mary Kate just loves Charlotte Farmer’s gorgeous “time for tea” tea towel and her splendid Blog de lottie– just the thing to keep you going when you are drying all those vintage tea cups after a marvellous afternoon tea. The only thing is that it looks almost too lovely to use!

Time for Tea - just the tea towel to do your vintage tea cups - by Charlotte Farmer

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Do you think you own every afternoon tea accessory there is to have? Well, you can now take your love of all things tea to a whole new level with this delightful time for tea wallpaper from Graham and Brown. I confess Tea with Mary Kate is plotting which wall could be decorated with this enchanting new find.

Delightful time for tea wallpaper from Graham and brown

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What, may you ask, has the King’s Speech to do with Tea?

The gift of Tea, and its quite splendid ceremony, is that it can transcend all barriers and provide universal connections across social status & generations. When the stuttering Duke of York initially visits his prospective speech therapist, Logue offers him a cup of Tea & insists on calling him Bertie. In another charming scene when the then King & Queen visit his home, Logue has laid the table all ready with gorgeous china tea pot and cups.

The Queen takes Time for Tea in the Kings Speech

The King’s speech is an utterly British film about King George VI during the time of the abdication of his elder brother, King Edward VIII. It captures an iconic moment in time, when the world was turning on its axis and just about to be plunged into an almost unthinkable scenario to many, a second World War. Colin Firth, already tipped for an Oscar, is utterly brilliant as the stammering Bertie. Having seen the film, and read a few interesting reviews including the  GuardianBBC,  & Mail, where Logue’s Grandson shares some fascinating undiscovered papers left to him by his father, what I adored was that iconic, and quintessionally British stalwart, tea, was at its very heart.

The King's Speech - a stuttering George VI dreading the prospect of speaking

I adored the scene when Lionel Logue first meet’s the then Duke of York. The kettle in on & an offer of Tea is made!

Despite the social status of his patient, and unbeknown to any of them definitively at that point in time, soon to be the next king of England, the eccentric Lionel Logue recognises that his talent can provide the healing to lead a nation.  This did not prevent the offer of and making a cup of tea while conducting his interview, completely at odds with how the Duke was used to being treated. Indeed, when a visit was made to Lionel Logue’s home, the table was laid splendidly with the best china all ready for tea time, with the then Queen happily helping herself.

The Kings Speech -Time for Tea

The scene I loved the most though was when the then Duchess of York is being driven through the foggy streets of London to seek out Lionel Logue initially.

Having exhausted conventional treatments to cure her husbands stammering, she was prepared to take great risk. It often takes a desperate situation to act, love to follow it through, courage to persuade others to take that first step, and then finally bravery to conquer your innermost & deep-seated worst fears.The Duchess provided a pseudonym, and in one of the most touching and amusing conversations in the film, Lionel asks quite innocently  if her husband can avoid public speaking by doing another job. Confessing her position then, Lionel becomes aware of the huge influence and help he can offer for such a prominent individual in serious need of speech therapy.

The soon to be Queen Elizabeth Seeking a speech therapist

What if you had always lived in the shadow of your elder brother, with no expectation of the throne. At a time of great peril, on the verge of another world war, what if your main role was to do the thing you most struggled with?

Colin Firth is perfect as the Duke of York, then the people’s King, George VI. His portrayal of the unprecedented situation of his brother’s abdication that was unfolding around him, and his rising panic but huge integrity to do the right thing was incredibly touching. The film felt intimate, and although surrounded by wealth & privilege, you felt the Duke’s despair at the huge weight of responsibility, the dread & fear of his own short comings. It was clear there was not the slightest wish to be thrust into the lime light. The Queen knew the only way out was to conquer his stutter. In Logue’s Diary, and in letters between them, there is a very touching description of the relationship that had developed:

April 19, 1937 – Went to Windsor.

King in grey clothes, blue stripe. Came forward with a smile: ‘Hello Logue, so glad to see you. You can be of great help to me.’ Went through Coronation Broadcast speech and altered it considerably. King in excellent health, a bit stiff about jaw, most anxious to do best.

April 30, 1937

Went through Coronation speech with King. When I told him he took two reputations into the box with him, he said he knew he did, that’s why he was laughing. He is a good fellow and only wants careful handling.

The King’s Coronation – Wednesday May 12, 1937

A car took me to the Palace at 7 o’clock. Went upstairs and found His Majesty, looking very fit after his very emotional day. We went through the speech once, at the mike, and then back to his room, where the Queen joined us, looking tired but very happy. We discussed the Coronation, particularly the solidness of the Archbishop and I told the King how we all noticed he took over the doing up of his belt. He told me that in some Coronations, the King was naked to the waist.

Kept him talking right up to the loud speakers playing the National Anthem. The Queen said ‘Good Luck Bertie’ and he walked right up to the mike and began (the perspiration was running down my back). He went on beautifully, a splendid voice, flexible, slight trouble with one word… he had me so worked up, that I could not talk at the end.

In a few seconds, he walked out into his passage and gave me a warm pressure of the hand as he said ‘Good night Logue, I thank you very much’ and the Queen did the same, her beautiful, indescribably blue eyes shining.

I said ‘The greatest thing in my life your Majesty is being able to serve you’. She said ‘Good Night. Thank you’ and, softly, ‘God Bless You’. This bought the tears to my eyes and sent me feeling like a fool. I had a whisky and soda, a silly thing to do on an empty stomach, and the whole world began to go around.

Letters between the Queen Mother and Mr Logue

Feb 20 1952

Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth
The Queen Mother
Buckingham Palace

Your Majesty

There arrives a most wonderful letter from His Majesty on December 16th telling me all about his health and what he had gone through – unfortunately I had to go into hospital before I could reply.

The King’s letter is in front of me as I write, and I cannot realise that it is the last one I shall ever receive.

Since 1926 he honoured me, by allowing me to help him with his speech, and no man ever worked as hard as he did and achieved such a grand result.

During all those years you were a tower of strength to him, and he has often told me how much he owes to you.

I have never forgotten your gracious help, to me, when my own beloved girl passed on.

I have the honour to be your Majesty’s humble servant.

Lionel Logue

Feb 28 1952

Buckingham Palace

Dear Mr Logue

I am so grateful for your kind letter, and very much touched by what you write – I am indeed sorry to hear that you have been so ill, so it was most kind of you to make the effort to write to me.

I think that I know perhaps better than anyone just how much you helped the King, not only with his speech, but through that his whole life, and outlook on life. I shall always be deeply grateful to you for all you did for him. He was such a splendid person, and I don’t believe that he even thought of himself at all – I did so hope that he might have been allowed a few years of comparative peace after the many anguished years he has had to battle through so bravely. But it was not to be.

I do hope that you will soon be better, and with again my heartfelt thanks, I am, yours very sincerely.

Elizabeth R

What do you do if the King & Queen are planning to drop by for a visit?

Dust off your best china, lay a lovely table cloth, and offer them a cup of tea of course! The gift of Tea, and its quite splendid ceremony, is that it can transcend all barriers and provide universal connections across social status & generations. Are you equipped for that all important visitor popping in for tea? Tea with Mary Kates does hope so.

Soon to be King George VI - The Duke & Duchess of York by Vandyk 1923

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Japan is foreign, exotic, with an utterly unique culture, and a wonderful regard for the aesthetic including its inspiring tea ceremony.

It also has a rich heritage of tea. On her  journey to explore the world of Tea, Tea with Mary Kate was delighted to discover KuKiCha.

Japanese Geisha and her tea cup

KuKiCha has an amazingly distinctive stalky appearance

Although it is harvested from Camellia sinensis, it is twigs and stems rather than leaves that are used for making the tea that is Kukicha. This descriptive legacy, associated with this tea for hundreds of years, gives Kuchicha the wonderful ancient origin of its name, translated as “Twig Tea”.

Kukicha - Delicate Japanese twig Tea

Labelled as “Poor Mans Tea” in Japan, it is an association that still persists

It is technically regarded as an “off grade” but I adore Kukicha, not only for its enchanting name, but also its wonderful and uniquely delicate taste.  Kukicha it is just a perfect tea to drink when you need something light and refreshing. Do drink it without milk, with water that is just cool from boiling and brew for a slightly shorter time than usual (2 – 3 minutes only) for a delightfully soft, aromatic brew.

And there is more good news – Kukicha is especially low in caffeine and has a fantastic health giving properties to recommend it

Being particularly high in alkaline properties and also packed with nutrients, vitamins, and  polyphenols, Kukicha is health in a tea cup! I will be drinking my Kukicha in this beautiful art deco vintage tea cup, its clean white, green and silver lines just the perfect design for enjoying Kukicha.

Beautiful Art Deco Vintage Tea cup

The ancient legacy and aesthetics of Japanese Tea drinking offers an opportunity to savour Kukicha

Taking time and care over tea is still in revered in Japan. Kukicha offers a unique insight into an ancient Japanese tea drinking experience, and with the delicate aroma, and associated health benefits,  Tea With Mary Kate is delighted to have discovered the unique and distinctive twig tea that is Kukicha. Do drink some soon.


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Take Time for Tea - A quite Splendid Vintage Afternoon Tea Party

The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley

Ah, the marvellous British weather! I adore the quotation from Scotland’s famous poet Robert Burn’s in his 1785 poem “To a Mouse”. It absolutely captures the essence of managing unpredictability, when plans famously go askew. And after weeks of sunshine, my best laid plans of  sitting in a marquee surrounded by a warm breeze and gently fluttering bunting is gang aft agley!

The marquee on the lawn has to be abandoned, but only after the assembly crew have almost expired laughing at their own ineptitude. It is too chilly and the wind is turning the marquee cover into a kite that quite capable of launching you into the sky. Practical lesson number one – you can never know what the British weather will throw at you, so do have a contingency plan. My contingency – Turn the house into a tea room!

Beautiful Vintage Tea Cups are perfect for Afternoon Tea

Vintage Tea Cups are the just the Perfect inspiration for a Vintage afternoon Tea party

Vintage Tea cups are just so beautiful and so versatile! The original designs of these gorgeous bone china cups are quite the perfect foil to inspire a vintage afternoon tea party!

Fabulous beautiful vintage cups

A Vintage style Afternoon Tea Menu’s signal the delights to come

The design of the Afternoon Tea menu enhances the vintage theme, beautifully decorated with ribbons and gorgeous fabrics. Alluring descriptions of the delights to come, including the tea to be sampled, add interest and create a talking point, although none is needed!

The tea served is from Northern Tea Merchants and is brewed to perfection:

Classic Blend – A bright, full bodied blend of Rwanda, Assam, Ceylon, East of the rift Kenya, picked at the height of the season

Rose Congou – An aromatic flavoursome black china tea blended with rose oil and delightfully mixed with rose bud petals

I adore Famous Tea Quotes!

The addition of a famous tea quote is an ingenious idea. Quirky or thought-provoking, it adds to the vintage atmosphere. I love this one from Henry James, The portrait of a Lady

“There are few hours more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea”

Enchanting Idea's to create an enticing Afternoon Tea Menu

Fill Tea cups  with Beautiful Flowers

Beautiful country cottage flower style arrangements of soft lime green Alchemilla mollis with aromatic lavender, flowering purple thyme and pink hydrangea look  absolutely exquisite on the white linen covered tables. On a practical note, do use oasis to secure the arrangement. These floral tea cups are also a handsome gift, and for our charity afternoon tea event, the lovely flower filled cups were cheerful raffle prizes.

Summer in a Tea Cup - Fill Vintage Tea Cups with pretty flowers

Tea cups filled with Rose Jelly and Summer Fruits are an adorable sweet treat

Charming,  elegant and delicious, tea cups filled with summer fruit and rose scented jelly was an adorable sweet treat. The idea is a sophisticated extension from children tea party but it is quite simply genius – everyone loved the concept. Do generously fill cups with a mixture of summer fruit. Imagine strawberry’s, raspberries, red currants and blueberries magically suspended in a pale pink jelly delicately flavoured with rose. A rose petal completes the elegant sweet treat.

No Vintage afternoon tea is complete without a tantalising selection of Cakes, with marvellous scones, Jam and cream

The Vintage afternoon Tea is an indulgence, a treat, a feast for the senses and palate. With a bewildering choice of  tempting cakes including cup of tea cake, millionaires shortbread, melting moments, lemon drizzle, plain and chocolate butterfly cakes, as well as gorgeous scones, the pleasing dilemma was what to choose. As the ideal situation is to sample a little of everything, so do make the portion’s on the small side, so it is very feasible to sample everything!

Atmospheric 1940s melodies drifts throughout the house

The Glynn Miller big band instantly transports the afternoon tea party to another vintage era, a nostalgic time, the tunes the echo of war, where time together was precious.

And Tea Cups for the Tea!

The electic mix of china, with virtually each cup unique, is an enticing and engaging aspect of afternoon tea party. The chinking of spoons on china is such a distinctive noise, the adorable mix of china cups and saucers signal the afternoon tea is splendidly vintage.

Eclectic mix of china cups just perfect for Vintage Afternoon Tea

A Quite Splendid Vintage Afternoon Tea.

There is an intrinsic ceremony to taking time for tea. It creates such a nurturing, intimate environment, and we all need to belong, to connect, to be interested in each other. A Vintage Afternoon Tea party allows the perfect time for exploration of those needs. Afternoon Tea feels like a real treat, and evokes another era when interactions were precious. Tea with Mary Kate’s wish for this post it that it reminds us that this is still so.

As well as the conviviality of sharing afternoon tea, the other aim of this tea was to raise money for the very worthwhile cause of Help for Heroes, and my huge and grateful thanks go to Betty, Tish & Pearl for their talented and quite wonderful support for the event.

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