The experience of tea – enjoying tea, your way, at home

Making the most of the full tea experience

What first springs to mind when you think about tea? Does it conjure up images of a lavish afternoon tea with vintage china and tableware, or a cosy cuppa snuggled up at home? For me, it’s both: as a true tea lover, I am equally happy enjoying a luxurious high tea sitting in a fancy hotel, taking tea in a cosy corner of a traditional tea room, curled up with a steaming mug of tea and a good book or stack of magazines.

I talk a lot about enjoying the experience of tea and sharing my tea adventures, both outside the home and inside, but Tea with Rachael all started when I thought about how I really get the chance to sit down, breathe and take a break with a good cup of tea at home.

A cosy cuppa

As a vintage enthusiast, I have an impressive collection of pretty teapots, delicate tea cups and saucers, but rarely lay the table as a full afternoon tea in the comfort of my own home. On a weekend, I am usually found in a cosy spot with my aforementioned book, magazines and big mug of tea, unless the weather is good, in which case I lay out tea on the balcony to make the most of the sunshine and riverside view.

Something that occurred to me while enjoying a good cup of tea at home was the number of different elements that go in to the experience of drinking tea. I have my favourite mugs, teapots, blends of tea, and am always seeking out pretty trays – both new and old – on which to set out all the tea paraphernalia. I like to think of my style and preferences here as unique to me, to my own tastes and tea experiences.

Cosy cup of tea

Blogging fuel – a cosy cuppa

Another essential piece of this mix is the humble coaster – something that is plentiful in my home. I am also a keen interior design enthusiast, collecting furniture and treasured pieces for the home – again, both old and new – and coasters that reflect these designs and my home style while protecting my furniture have an important part to play in both the look and feel I am hoping to achieve in my home and the overall tea drinking experience. I even use coasters on my outdoor table, as it’s white and I don’t want to spill tea, coffee or red wine on it! I have a variety of designs that reflect my interests and personal tastes, ranging from Anne Boleyn to cats, to historical and local photography.

Celebrating moments and memories

It was considering this element of my tea-loving life that I discovered Individually Inspired. The company’s founder, Dinesh, makes individually designed, personalised gifts, which can be tailored to suit vintage and modern interiors alike. A delightfully personal memento of special occasions, I particularly like the Engagement Plaques in wood and slate. These individually designed gifts work beautifully to commemorate engagements, birthdays, weddings, Christenings and naming ceremonies –  even special anniversaries or honeymoons.

New York plaque from Individually Inspired

Celebratory New York engagement plaque from Individually Inspired

 

Bespoke slate Paris plaque

A bespoke plaque from Individually Inspired to celebrate that special time in Paris…

 

 

One area that we have been discussing is a bespoke range of wooden coasters that can be customised and personalised with individual designs and messages. Here’s a prototype of a Tea with Rachael teacup design, which sums up my philosophy on enjoying a good cuppa with friends and family. Counting a considerable number of fellow tea enthusiasts among my friends and family, I think that personalised coaster collections would make fabulous gifts for them!

Bespoke coaster design

Creativity in action: Dinesh of Individually Inspired designing a bespoke Tea with Rachael coaster

 

 

Bespoke wooden Tea with Rachael coaster

One of a set of bespoke Tea with Rachael coasters from Individually Inspired

I’m interested to hear what kind of coasters my fellow tea lovers like. Are you a vintage lady or gent, or do you prefer something more modern? What bespoke designs would you choose/create? What else do you use to protect your furniture and good tea ware?

Until next time – enjoy that cuppa, and make sure you don’t make a ring on the table!

Rachael xx

It’s 2015: Time for tea!

Newby Tea at The Bingham, Richmond

A lovely pot of Newby tea and pretty china at The Bingham, Richmond

Happy New Year!

After a blogging hiatus towards the end of last year, following injury, illness and a number of other reasons, I’m looking forward to making this year “The Year of the Blog”!

2014 wasn’t exactly the year I was expecting, but I have high hopes for the New Year and am feeling positive!

 

A New Year’s Eve to Remember

I saw in the New Year with my lovely husband eating a fabulous six-course tasting menu at Richmond’s beautiful  Bingham hotel. We had a lovely room overlooking the river, inspiring a search for a new home by the river, where we hope to move in March. I can’t wait to wake up to the peaceful, comforting sight of the river and being surrounded by greenery once more!

Miller Harris toiletries at The Bingham

Luxury Miller Harris toiletries at The Bingham

A stylish room at The Bingham

Our stylish room at the Bingham

Do Not Disturb sign at The Bingham, Richmond

Celebrating in style at The Bingham, Richmond

Time for Tea…

I had several lovely cuppas courtesy of Newby Teas, and thoroughly enjoyed my moments of luxury!

In the spirit of “New Year, New You”, I was recently introduced to SlenderTox Tea by the BloggersLove Hub. I’m delighted that this is a health product based on one of my favourite things – tea! I am keen to try the 14 day teatox and see if it helps improve my overall health and wellbeing, ups my energy levels (which are in need of a jumpstart right now!) and that the evening teatox helps me enjoy a good night’s sleep.

I will update you on the results as I go along – very excited to be trying out another tea experiment!

I had a lovely New Year surprise this week, winning some delicious-smelling teas from JollyBrew. The packaging is stunning, making a welcome addition to my tea cabinet and matching the blue themes of my kitchen. I can’t wait to try all three loose-leaf teas – I will share the verdict, but I predict they are going to be amazing!

The Gift of Tea

The elegantly packaged JollyBrew Teas

The elegantly packaged JollyBrew Teas

Festive gifts of tea and coffee

The gift of tea…and coffee!

I received some wonderful tea related gifts from family and friends over the festive season: a real favourite tea of mine, Harney & Sons’ Tower of London Blend Tea, a wonderful blend of black tea with Bergamot and dried fruits; Christmas Thanks from Twinings, which tastes like Christmas cake and is pure comfort in a mug; several lovely mugs; lots and lots of Teapigs; and Christmas Blend teas from Whittard of London and Kent & Sussex.

Slendertox Tea

Time for a TeaTox

This was all after a pre-Christmas visit to one of my favourite shops in Covent Garden, The Tea House, to stock up on my favourite Ahmad blends, Vanilla Tranquility and Cinammon Haze. I’ve been drinking these in abundance, both at work and at home.

Gingerbread Lattes, anyone?

I also received various gingerbread-themed gifts, as my obsession with gingerbread lattes shows no signs of waning! I have to admit I drink them all year round, rather than just as a seasonal treat. I am really looking forward to trying out the Gingerbread Body Lotion from the fabulous Sniffy Whiffy – keeping that festive feeling going through the dark January days! I’m collecting my parcel tomorrow, so will keep you posted…

Until next time, wishing you a very Happy New Year – here’s hoping 2015 is a fantastic one!

Enjoy your January tea break,

Rachael XX

 

#AngelCandy – Fragrant memories

My Angel gift boxThe lovely people at Thierry Mugler recently invited me to participate in #AngelCandy – a real treat and an experience for the senses!

I excitedly opened my beautifully wrapped gift box to find a sparkling miniature star of Angel Eau de Parfum, shining silver star confetti, and two delicate blue meringues, which were truly scrumptious!

Shiny Angel meringuesAngel has always been an evocative scent for me. I remember the first time I tried it, working in a designer boutique that sold both Mugler clothing and perfumes before and during university. It was so different, so unusual, and something about it was so memorable. I used to have an occasional spritz during the day, as a comforting scent to keep me going during long working days.

#AngelCandyOne of my best friends took a shine to the fragrance and wore it as her signature scent for many years. It will always make me think of her; of spending fun times out on the town or wandering the sunny riverbank of our hometown together.

I filled in my card of how it makes me feel, and it conjured up many different senses and emotions, all of them happy and contented.

I was asked to create a mood board of how it makes me feel, something I love doing and find really inspiring! So I created a few different mood boards, each showing the different paths that a memorable scent can lead you down, and expressing the feelings I associate with Angel and my favourite scents from life and nature.

Friendship moodboardOne mood board reflects the friendship, fun and memories that a waft of Angel brings to my mind. Another reflects the comforts of home and the contented, reassuring feeling I get when wearing certain fragrances, or when I smell certain scents, at home or away.

Home inspiration moodboardThe other mood board reflects the unique, otherworldly nature of this enduring fragrance – some of the elements that make it exciting and different and remind me of my good friend who I feel embodies the Angel Candy girl.

Ethereal moodboardHow does scent make you feel? There are always different associations, memories, and thoughts evoked by different fragrances, all there waiting to be explored.

I encourage you to explore your own, preferably when relaxing with a comforting cup of tea and sweet treat – that’s the time I find my inspiration! X