Top Ten Tea Blogger Award from Feedspot.com

Top Ten Tea Blogger Award!

Top Ten Tea Blogger

Top Ten Tea Blogger Award from Feedspot.com

Just a quick news flash to let you know I’m delighted and very honoured to be recognised as a Top Ten Tea Blogger by Feedspot.com this year – I was in the Top 100 last year, so am extremely happy to be included in this year’s Top Ten!

Check out the full Top Ten list. Lots of fab tea enthusiasts like me, sharing their love of life and all things tea. Tea adventures and treats galore!

More tea adventures to follow from me soon – thank you, Feedspot.com! And huge thanks to all the wonderful tea people who have supported me and shared their fabulous teas, tea ware and tea events with me this past year – I hope to give you all your own big shout out very soon!

Tea up!

Rachael xx

National Tea Day Adventures Part One – A festival of tea at Fest-Tea-Val

Every day is Tea Day for me

One month on and I’m still revelling in the tea celebrations and tea adventures I enjoyed on National Tea Day. It was a triple whammy of tea for me on 21st April. I started the day at my amazing local shopping centre in Kingston, The Bentall Centre, where I visited my old friends and tea favourites T2 and Whittard of Chelsea for quite a few morning cuppas. More on that soon…

I spent the rest of the day at Fes-Tea-Val, which took place on 21st and 22nd April 2018. I so enjoyed National Tea Day last year, with so many fantastic tea stalls and tea tastings in one place and so many tea enthusiasts and experts all under one roof, aptly hosted at the fabulous Kensington Roof Gardens, which sadly no longer exist. I met some wonderful tea people (including catching up with old friends, like Tea People!) and enjoyed some spectacular tea blends and accompanying treats, as well as making friends with a few flamingos…

Fest-Tea-Val at Chiswick House and Gardens

Fest-Tea-Val in the tranquil surrounding of Chiswick House and Gardens

Fest-Tea-Val

This year’s National Tea Day festival, however, went way beyond expectations. The fabulous celebration of all things tea, cleverly called “Fest-Tea-Val”, perfectly complemented the tranquil beauty of Chiswick House and Gardens – a genuine and very unexpected oasis of calm in between Richmond and Central London. It was much bigger than I thought it would be – more like a food festival and just as much fun (if not more fun, as everything centred around tea!).

A time for friends and family

I visted on the first day, on National Tea Day itself, 21st April. A couple of my friends met me at the event and were just as surprised at the size, scope and scenery of Fest-Tea-Val. We made a point of visiting every single stall and trying as many teas and treats as we possibly could!

Par-tea time!

The Fest-Tea-Val was divided up into different zones, with something for everyone: Tea ‘n’ Treat Village was exactly what you’d expect – full of teas and treats. Tea ‘n’ Tipple Boulevard showcased some of the more grown up delights on offer, with tea cocktails and tea-infused booze.

There were over 225 providers of tea and treats at the festival, with everything from loose leaf teas, specialist teas, posh teabags, organic teas, detox teas, tea-infused beer and spirits and some tea-inspired tipples. I came home with all kinds of edible goodies – from cheese, to tea-infused gin, to tea of all kinds. I must say I was very excited by my tea-inspired haul, as were my friends. 

As well as enjoying all the tea, tipples, food and frolics, there was live music, baking demonstrations and numerous how-tos. We all learned a lot about tea, and there was even time for some relaxation in the Vitali-Tea Garden.

A fashionable festival of tea

There was even a tent dedicated to fashion, bringing together some of my favourite things: food, fashion, and of course, tea.

So many wonderful tea people

I’m going to try to do some special posts for the different tea companies that we discovered, but there are certain companies that really made it a fantastic day for us, and I’d like to give a little shout out.

Hope and Glory at Fest-Tea-Val

The fabulous Hope and Glory stand at Fes-Tea-Val

Where there is tea, there is hope…

Independent tea brand, Hope & Glory, were one of the sponsors of the event and had both a fabulous vintage inspired stand and a cafe area, right by the riverside. It was a peaceful spot to sit down for a bit and enjoy some top notch tea and tuck-boxes, resting our weary feet as we surveyed our tea purchases and enjoyed a quality cup of tea and a stunning view out over the River Thames. The Hope & Glory afternoon tea lunch boxes were made up by top chef, Cyrus Todiwala, in a special collaboration to celebrate National Tea Day, presented in the Hope & Glory vintage-style tin tea caddies. We were delighted to meet the team behind the brand, including co-founder, Bharat Chudasama, who is so genuinely passionate about tea and welcomed us warmly with a lovely Earl Grey and the tasty tuck-boxes. We enjoyed a lengthy conversation about tea and our shared love of good quality teas until we realised the Fest-Tea-Val was closing and it was time for go home. But that meant going home to more delicious tea – and maybe some of the tea infused boozy treats, too!


A fab festival atmosphere in stunning surroundings

It was a really fab day out all round, perfect for tea lovers and foodies alike. We were exhausted after all the tea adventures, but it was so worth it!

Thank you to all the lovely team at National Tea Day for inviting me and for putting on such an awesome event. True tea lovers!

I’ve so many other lovely tea adventures to share in the coming weeks – from more National Tea Day fun, to some fabulous teas and treats to try at home. Much needed after such a busy time!

I’m looking forward to many more tea adventures, too, now that the weather is getting so much better.

Until next time, hope you’re enjoying a cracking cuppa!

Rachael xx

A very welcome health and taste boost from the Tetley Tea People

Tetley teases and pleases with dessert flavoured teas

The lovely Tetley Tea Folk sent me their latest range of special teas, intriguingly called Indulgence Flavour Blends, designed to replicate the flavours of your favourite sweet treats. It was ideal timing while I was “Dechoxing” for the British Heart Foundation! I was lucky enough to try the full range of expertly flavoured black teas and there really is something for everyone: Gingerbread, Cookies and Cream, Spiced Apple, and Choc Mint Chip!

Delicious Indulgence Teas from Tetley

Tetley’s delicious Indulgence Teas

My favourite will be no surprise – Gingerbread – it tastes exactly like real gingerbread and is the most satisfying “something sweet” to have after a meal or when you’re craving sugar. It’s not too sweet, though, which makes it perfect for me. the Cookies and Cream was alas a great biscuit or chocolate bar substitute, but be warned – it’s very sweet and tastes very creamy!

Indulgence Gingerbread blend

Indulgence Gingerbread Blend

More teas with a twist…Tetley Tea with Vitamin D

If you’re looking for something even healthier, you may remember I covered Tetley’s range of Superteas when they first launched last year. Now the range has expanded to include something for everyone, including a variety of green teas infused with additional health benefits. They even have a green tea blend with added Matcha, conveniently in teabag form for an on the go energy boost.Tetley Tea with Vitamin D

So I was delighted to try their new green tea with Vitamin D, delicately flavoured with citrus. It was very refreshing in the hot weather over the summer, and I enjoyed it with a slice of lemon. I take Vitamin D supplements to try to boost my immune system, so any help along the way is very much welcomed. I’m not usually a big fan of green tea, but do like green teas when they are gently flavoured, with a hint of jasmine or lemon, for example, so was pleasantly surprised when the citrus kick was not too strong made it a very tasty cuppa. My mum, who has been unwell recently, has also enjoyed them.

I would definitely recommend the Super Teas from Tetley. Reasonably priced, available at the supermarket, and with flavours and vitamin infused blends to suit all tastes and needs. I’ll also be recommending them to friends and family who enjoy green tea.

Next time, I’ll be talking more “Ts” and “Teas” with some favourites both old and new – T2, Tea Sanctuary, Tick Tock and Twinings. So many lovely teas, bound to make you feel better!

Hope to enjoy a cuppa with you again soon!

Rachael XX

Summer is finally here – BBQ and bubbles

Looking ahead to a sparkling summer

Summer by the river

Summer by the river – time for a BBQ

It’s taken a while this year, but it looks like summer is finally here! Having been out of action for a while, I’m really appreciating the simple pleasures of June – fresh air and sunshine; being able to sit outside on the balcony, and the odd stroll in the along the local riverside.

As the weather gets better, thoughts turn to lazy Sunday afternoons, sociable summer evenings and, of course, barbecues.
On a healthy but limited diet on account of many allergies and intolerances – as well as avoiding alcohol for the most part – how do you make summer party food and drink more exciting? Thankfully, some fabulous people have helped me find a way.

Tasty tipples

My tea lover friends always appreciate the opportunity to create fruity iced teas and tea cocktails in the summer. I like mixing fruity herbal teas with fresh berries, mint and ice; or lemon and ginger teas with slices of fresh lemon and ginger. For tipsy tea cocktails, a tot of  gin, vodka or even Chambord, pair beautifully with a tangy herbal tea.

After meeting the lovely people at Green Lady at National Tea Day, I discovered a sparkling tea drink that is a worthy replacement for alcoholic bubbles, but is also a healthy fizzy drink that can be used as an alternative mixer or be mixed into tasty cocktails. Everyone’s a winner!

It’s difficult to describe the taste of Green Lady – the light freshness of Darjeeling tea is evident, sitting alongside a sweet (but not too sweet), herby, gingery flavour. It’s the perfect something that little bit different to offer to my visitors for any BBQs this summer.

Going green

Green Lady sparkling tea drink

Green Lady sparkling tea drink

I was excited to try Green Lady, not least because it is made just doors away from where I used to live some years ago, on Green Lanes, North London. A health-conscious, calming beverage, the brand is synonymous with chill-out time and the calmness that summer is all about. They’ve been having a very eventful weekend for Urban Food Fest with free yoga (#Namastea) to spread the word about this interesting new tea-based offering.

They’re also doing a great summer offer at Ocado right now, until 13th June –
4 bottles for £5. Bargain!

And in the true spirit of #Namastea, I’m running a competition on Instagram and Twitter to win your very own crate of Green Lady! Simply follow and like @greenladyNo1 and @TeawithRachael or tag us in your best “sparkling summer” pics to be in with a chance to win.
(The competition closes on 13th June and is in the UK only.)

A Man Box for a proper BBQ

My husband and I have been eating very healthily for various reasons, and have been experimenting in the kitchen with different herbs and spices, to make healthy dishes more interesting. While I’m allergic to peppers and chillies, he’s a big fan of a bit of spice, so I thought it would be nice for him to try out one of the fabulous Man Boxes from the lovely folk at Ross and Ross Food – perfect for the BBQ and a gourmet gift in time for summer!

Man Box from Ross and Ross Food

Man Box from Ross and Ross Food

With spicy rubs and sauces to complement all types of meat, fish, and even grilled vegetables, there’s something to make every dish a little bit different, perfectly complementing my “something different” BBQ theme. Hubby has also been trying the spice rubs and flavoured salts out with baked potatoes, soups and salads to add a bit of a kick!

There are boxes of all shapes and sizes, including extra big Man Boxes with a range of cured meats – and all manner of meat rubs and sauces. If you’re looking for something to kick start your BBQ season, unique Father’s day gifts, or something special for the man in your life, check them out!

The fab peeps at Ross and Ross Food are also offering a special discount for Tea With Rachael readers: 10% off all food gifts – just quote rachael10

I’ll be sharing some BBQ recipes to match up with the fabulous Green Lady and Ross and Ross Food treats over the coming weeks as BBQ season begins with a bang – watch this space!

Until then, enjoy the sunshine and wishing you a sparkling summer!

Rachael xx

Ross and Ross Man Box and Green Lady sparkling tea drink

Green Lady sparkling drink and a Ross and Ross Foods Man Box ready for BBQ time

Time for a blooming great tea party

After a few days of being quite poorly after the excitement of National Tea Day, I’ve had to have a bit of time away from the computer screen, so still have many tea adventures to share! One future tea adventure I would like to share with you, which I am very excited about, is that I am planning a Blooming Great Tea Party for Marie Curie in June. What better reason to invite people round for good tea, good food, fun and frolics? (And to get the good china out!) This year, Marie Curie have provided a wealth of inspiration for baking, food and tea pairings, as well as ideas for fun activities on the day and how to set up the tea party. I particularly love the celebrity recipes that have been shared, including the wonderful banana bread recipe from Stanley Tucci’s late wife – such a moving tribute!

Marie Curie

Marie Curie

Blooming beautiful!
I am planning a vintage style party – naturally – following a yellow theme to reflect the colour of the iconic Marie Curie daffodil. There will be a big, bonny bunch of yellow daffodils in the centre of the table, and I think my vintage blue and white china jug will contrast beautifully with the yellow tea set.

Time for tea
I’m planning to serve a variety of different teas, some traditional, some very new, and some old favourites with an interesting new spin. Some of my lovely tea friends have offered to help, so I should have plenty of good quality teas to go round!

Tea and cake

Tea and cake inspiration for the Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party

Afternoon tea with all the trimmings…
So, what food to serve? This will be afternoon tea with a twist and with a number of very specific requirements. I am gluten and dairy free, with allergies to a number of different foods.

A number of my guests will have special dietary requirements – so this means adapting recipes for no gluten, no dairy, no fish, etc. I plan to enlist the help of two of my best friends: one of them a very accomplished baker, who has created some fabulous gluten and dairy free cakes for me before; and one who is a talented chef and also now also gluten free.

Yellow outfit for National Tea Day and my Blooming Great Tea Party for Marie Curie

Mellow Yellow outfit for National Tea Day and inspiration for my Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party

What to wear?
I think I will wear my bright yellow jacket that was so appropriate for National Tea Day. I even wore it with a sparkly Marie Curie daffodil brooch, which will, of course, have to make another appearance for this event in honour of such a fantastic cause. I will be posting some more in the run up to the big day, with recipe ideas, different teas to serve, and table setting inspiration.

 

Get involved
You can join in the fun, too – you can sign up at www.mariecurie.org.uk/teaparty and plan your party for 23rd-25th June.

To get inspiration for your own Blooming Great Tea Party, visit the website at www.mariecurie.uk/teaparty/celebrityrecipes and decide what you would like to bake!

I will keep you updated on my progress…

Until next time,

Rachael XX