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.
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.
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!
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!