Tag Archives: Tea

A Little Bit of Happiness

23 Jun

Sometimes, the simplest things make me the most happy.

A cup of tea, a vase of fresh flowers, a new book, or a mid-afternoon nap.

Today, make sure to treat yourself to something you know makes you happy, because you deserve it.

It is often the smallest of things that can make the biggest difference.

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Bar Cart Style

22 Oct
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A little bar cart is a cute and fun way to recycle vintage furniture.

In particular, for a lady like myself living in a small apartment, it is a multi-faceted way to make efficient use of space!

Where and how to use a bar cart in your home:

1. Bathroom: Roll up towels and stack them on the bottom rack while toiletries placed in pretty dishes and vases remain on top. Hair dryer, curler, straightener and brushes can be stored on top as well.

2. Kitchen: Silverware organized in mason jars or bottles on the top rack while bowls, plates and cups remain on the bottom for easy access.

3. Living Room: A mobile bookshelf! Stack books and magazines together on both the top and bottom shelves. Place a pretty vase of flowers on top.

4. Bedroom: Use as a nightstand with a lovely lamp on the top shelf, alarm clock, and dish for jewelry to be put in before bedtime. Have a coaster for your morning coffee or nighttime tea ready! Place make up wipes, lotions and contact solution in a hat box on the bottom shelf.

5. Dining Room: For it’s conventional use, a bar cart can be stocked with glasses and alcohol for before/after dinner/anytime drinks. Also, it can be filled with tea cups, mugs and tea fixings for a lovely afternoon tea!

Check out Shell Chic’d for other ways to decorate your new favorite piece of furniture!

Breakfast in Bed

11 Aug

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Waking up morning after morning to the same old routine can often get, well, tiring! Who says you can’t make waking up a lovely and enjoyable experience?

Breakfast in bed is one of my favorite ways to treat myself. Personally, the fear of dirtying the bed is silly… sheets and comforters can always be washed! It’s the feeling of relaxing in bed while eating a delicious and energizing meal that cannot be beat.

The steps are simple and easy:

1) Find a fun and functional tray. One with legs or without is just fine!

2) Make a pot of tea or coffee. That way, you can have a few cups without having to get out of bed. Pair it with cream and sugar in serving glasses.

3) A glass of orange juice or milk is not only tasty but adds color to the breakfast display!

4) Pick your main meal. Whether is it oatmeal with berries, toast with peanut butter or yogurt with nuts, make it high in protein!

5) Accompany it with real silverware/plating and a pretty napkin. Remember, this is a treat… doing the dishes is worth it.

6) Fresh cut flowers from the garden… optional, but almost a necessity!

Now, you have something to look forward to when you wake up in the morning. Give yourself a good 30 minutes to enjoy your meal, slowly wake up and get your mind ready for the day.

Once finished, it’s time to get dressed and go do some wonderful things!

Lane’s Afternoon Tea Party

10 Jul

ImageA couple of months ago, I posted an entry on how to create a proper afternoon tea. Unfortunately, the post was created in the middle of April and the weather was not conducive to the fabulous afternoon tea party I wanted to throw for four of my best girlfriends.

ImageJune proved to be the perfect month, as not only were the peonies in the garden in full bloom and the weather was lovely but also, all four of my girlfriends were home! Therefore, I took some of my own lady advice, set a date and invited my girls over for a fabulous afternoon full of sundresses and hats.

I followed the traditional standards for an afternoon tea, but of course, I had to put my own spin on things!

I began with making a few pots of tea depending on the preference of each lady. Having a few tea pots around the table has such a fun and whimsical vibe and gives some variety… it is a TEA party after all! Additionally, I mixed up what my family calls “Witches Brew” or half lemonade and half iced tea to be served as a refreshing drink.

ImageFor starters, I made a small array of finger sandwiches:

Cucumber with cream cheese, Tomato with Boursin spread and Turkey with cheddar cheese and Dijon mustard.

Each sandwich deviated a bit from the traditional servings (Cucumber, Egg mayonnaise with cress, Smoked salmon with cream cheese, Coronation chicken, Ham and mustard) but were just as delicious!

ImageScones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves were next. My favorite chef, Ina Garten also known as the Barefoot Contessa, always provides fool-proof recipes and I knew her scone recipe would be no different. I used Ina’s Cranberry-Orange Scone recipe, minus the cranberries. I wanted the scones to be unique but not overwhelming and the hint of orange flavor was perfect.

ImageClotted cream is very difficult to find in the States, therefore I decided to make my own. Using a mixer, I poured in heavy cream, sugar and a little vanilla. Yes, this is not typically how clotted cream is made (simmering cream in a saucepan) but, for a summer day the result was light, fluffy and yummy.

Store bought strawberry preserves put in a pretty bowl is the final step, simple and easy.

ImageThe next “course” typically features an arrangement of pastries, tarts, cakes and chocolates. I opted for easy, chocolate covered strawberries with champagne for a lighter, more summery feel. I simply melted chocolate chips in a double boiler, dipped the strawberries and put them in the refrigerator to chill. The champagne needed no help on my end to be delicious!

ImageFinally, as a little surprise to celebrate all of our birthday’s throughout the year, I whipped up a chocolate cake with pink frosting, finished off with pink candles.

ImageThe day was all I had hoped for it to be and more. Nothing warms the heart more than a hot pot of tea, scrumptious treats and fabulous friends.

Afternoon Tea

14 Apr

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Whether you are a tea fan or not, I am a firm believer that every lady should experience a proper afternoon tea! The ambiance, service and the yummy treats are just a few of the wonderful things that are a part of afternoon tea and truly has something for everyone. There needn’t be a particular  occasion to go to afternoon tea, the special occasion should be exposing yourself to a wonderful and delicious tradition!

Yes, afternoon tea can be a bit on the pricy side, but that is why it is a special TREAT. In addition, most places have varied levels of afternoon tea which can accommodate your budget.

That being said, lets delve into the nitty gritty of afternoon tea!

First a little history lesson (because all ladies must be educated as well as cultured)

Afternoon tea began its rise in popularity in mid-19th century England when most meals were taken twice a day; breakfast and dinner. It is said that Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford commented on having a “sinking feeling” in the middle of the day and as a result would often have tea and small sandwiches as a private snack. The Duchess then began inviting other ladies to dine with her, turning the private ritual into a social event!

The practice began to gain popularity and was mimicked by many other upperclass ladies at the time. Later, the practice would become a normalized occasion when Queen Victoria engaged in the ritual and turned afternoon tea into a daily event.

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So, what exactly does a delicious afternoon tea entail?

Usually served on a beautiful, tiered silver platter, tea participants will receive a selection of small (finger) sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and preserves and a selection of cakes and pastries.

The selection of finger sandwiches usually include:

  • Cucumber
  • Egg mayonnaise with cress
  • Smoked salmon with cream cheese
  • Coronation chicken
  • Ham and mustard

The scones are served warm with clotted cream (sometimes referred to as Devonshire cream) and strawberry or raspberry preserves. To eat the scone properly, cut in half and layer the preserves and then the cream. There is truly no specific order to the cream or preserves as it has been traditionally applied both ways, but I personally find the preserves then cream application to be less messy!

Tea Time Tips

The selection of cakes and pastries can vary based on the venue of the tea service but will often be a combination of:

  • Tartlets
  • Shortbread
  • Meringues
  • Custards
  • Macrons
  • Layer cakes

A selection of tea will also be presented. Each guest will receive their own pot of tea at the beginning of the meal.

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For a bit of clarification, as there are many types of tea which can be confusing to any respectable lady. “Low Tea” is the common term referring to “Afternoon Tea” as this tea was served at lower tables while the guests lounged on plush couches. This tea was served to more upperclass guests and consists of the sandwich, scone and pastry mix.

“High Tea” was created by middle class families who ate  a more substantial meal between breakfast and dinner. “High Tea” would often consist of vegetables, cheeses, meats and potatoes in addition to tea. This would be served at higher tables, hence the name “High Tea.”

“Cream Tea” consists of solely scones, clotted cream, preserves and tea.

“Champagne Tea” consists of the “Afternoon Tea” menu but includes a glass of nice champagne.

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Now off you go to show your new-found tea knowledge to all your lady friends!

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